Longitudinal logbook survey designs for estimating recreational fishery catch, with application to ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis)


Kitada, Shuichi, and Kiyoshi Tezuka
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Longitudinal surveys of anglers or boat owners are widely used in recreational fishery management to estimate total catch over a fishing season. Survey designs with repeated measures of the same random sample over time are effective if the goal is to show statistically significant differences among point estimates for successive time intervals. However, estimators for total catch over the season that are based on longitudinal sampling will be less precise than stratified estimators based on successive independent samples. Conventional stratified variance estimators would be negatively biased if applied to such data because the samples for different time strata are not independent. We formulated new general estimators for catch rate, total catch, and respective variances that sum across time strata but also account for correlation stratum samples. A case study of the Japanese recreational fishery for ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) showed that the conventional stratified variance estimate of total catch was about 10% of the variance estimated by our new method. Combining the catch data for each angler or boat owners throughout the season reduced the variance of the total catch estimate by about 75%. For successive independent surveys based on random independent samples, catch, and variance estimators derived from combined data would be the same as conventional stratified estimators when sample allocation is proportional to strata size. We are the first to report annual catch estimates for ayu in a Japanese river by formulating modified estimators for day-permit anglers.