An Analysis of the Recreational Angler Vector and Associated Pathways to aid in the Prevention of Invasive Species Introductions in Mid-Atlantic Waterways

An Analysis of the Recreational Angler Vector and Associated Pathways to aid in the Prevention of Invasive Species Introductions in Mid-Atlantic Waterways

Principal Investigator: Scott Knoche, Morgan State University

Years Funded: 2017-2018

Project Description:
Recreational fishing is a known vector for the transport and dispersal of invasive species, with key pathways including live bait, angling gear, and boating gear. In Maryland, live bait has resulted in the establishment of various species of non-native worms, minnow, and crayfish, with Eurasian watermilfoil and hydrilla suspected to have been introduced via the boating gear pathway and didymo suspected to have been introduced by angling gear. These and other invasive species have the potential to cause serious ecological and economic impacts throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region, with state agencies taking preventative measures such as boat and trailer checks and installing angling gear wash stations at popular fishing sites. The objective of this proposed study is to contribute to the prevention and management through a pathway analysis. A pathway analysis is prioritized in the Maryland Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan and can be used to identify points whose disruption could meaningfully prevent introduction of multiple invasive species. We will utilize data from a recent survey that collected information on fishing trip location and frequency in non-tidal waterways in Maryland. The geographic distribution of anglers and angler trips for each key pathway (live bait, fishing gear, boating gear) will be analyzed using ArcGIS. Pathway risk will be calculated by multiplying the percentage of anglers and angler trips involved in the pathway by the proportion of aquatic invasive species that are found in subwatershed i and can be transported by pathway j. This information will be used to rank pathways by importance using procedures developed by the National Invasive Species Council and Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. This project will contribute to better management of invasive species pathways through a written report, fact sheets, a peer-reviewed publication and targeted outreach efforts to resource managers and key recreational angling stakeholders.

Photo credit: Scott Knoche