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Tuesday, January 30 • 8:40am - 9:00am
SYMPOSIA-07: Placing Gear Standardization in a Broader Context That Advances Science-based Fisheries Research and Management

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AUTHORS. Martha E. Mather, U. S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; Dan Shoup, Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management, Oklahoma State University; Quinton Phelps, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Design, West Virginia University

ABSTRACT. Implementation of rigorous methodologies, including gear evaluation and standardization, is critically important for effective fisheries research and management.  Although few fisheries professionals disagree with the urgent need for detailed, quantitative protocols prior to data collection, challenges exist in executing representative and generalizable gear evaluations and standardizations.  Three primary areas require attention. Addressing these challenges can advance the establishment and implementation of improved sampling methodologies. As a first challenge, unless a complete census is undertaken every time resource data are collected, uncertainty about context-specific bias at the time of each individual data collection event (related to time-, place- and personnel-related sampling variation) will affect efforts to evaluate and standardize gear.  Consequently, practical and philosophical cautions about data interpretation related to the inevitable uncertainty in bias need to be integrated into the development, validation, and application of standardized data.  As a second challenge, the type of data needed and impact of specific gear bias differ with the question asked.  For example, data needed to estimate population size are quite different from those needed to quantify the impact of specific conditions on fish populations (e.g., habitat type, season, disturbances such as dams) regardless of the gear used. Thus, the question asked alters the appropriateness of the sampling design for the same and different gears.  As a third challenge, an integrated analysis of how standardized data relates to the fisheries questions asked is needed (e.g., what will be done with the standardized data once it is collected?; are the right questions being asked for the problem at hand?; will the resulting data be useful if unanticipated trends are detected?).  By addressing these challenges, fisheries professionals can develop a more balanced portfolio of tools that provide a broader context for the development, validation, and application of standardized data. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 8:40am - 9:00am CST