SAFER Lab to attend RASSPL nationals
The SAFER team is preparing for the Rock and Surf Super Pro League (RASSPL) National Angling competition being held this weekend (26 - 30 April). RASSPL is the largest 100% catch-and-release (C&R) angling competition in South Africa and our research team has been an integral part of this angling league for the past several years. While one is unable to change the negative physical and physiological impacts associated with the angling event and the high energy environment that it occurs in, it is possible to manipulate angler behaviour to improve the health and survival of fishes with regard to factors such as air exposure and fish handling. We have been working with RASSPL anglers for five years and our primary aim has been to improve angler C&R behavior in order to optimize the health and survival of the released fishes.
We have published a paper that outlined the baseline C&R behavior of RASSPL anglers and the subsequent health and survival of the fishes (Butler et al 2017). Our second paper, which has just been accepted in the journal “Fisheries Research” highlights the promising result that long-term interventions that incorporate a diverse range of strategies (antecedent and consequences) can promote improvements in angler C&R knowledge and behaviour. This year, we will continue monitoring angler behaviour and will also roll out a survey aimed at gaining an understanding of the primary drivers of the behavioural change. Ultimately, we hope that the improved C&R behaviour of RASSPL anglers will provide an avenue to modify the behaviour of all recreational anglers through social movements of self-reform.