Rockfishes are vulnerable species to overfishing and in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, a series of Marine Protected Areas across North America’s west coast were implemented in an effort to protect these species (among others) from overharvest. However anglers can play an important role in protecting these species through citizen science monitoring initiatives, improved awareness of the challenges these species face, better methods of avoiding them as bycatch, and through the use of descending devices when releasing them. This symposium focuses on the intersection of these three areas, and we are seeking presentations that explore: (i) how rockfish populations have changed due to these MPA’s; (ii) how anglers are playing a role in supporting these protected areas through citizen science; and (iii) what we have learned about best practices to encourage the long term sustainability of ¬†these species.

The citizen science approach used in this session can greatly expand the diversity of those involved in fisheries science by demonstrating how anglers can be included in the scientific process. These new participants can strengthen the bond between fisheries professionals and the angling public in two important ways. First by expanding the capacity to collect data on a wide range of fisheries science questions, and second by tapping into the diverse experiences of these anglers, from people who are actively involved in their fishery. Integrating these under-represented groups (anglers) into the field of fisheries science, this approach has the potential to vastly expand this emerging field of science.

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