This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Use of R3 recommended actions in addressing minority participation in recreational freshwater fishing in Alabama




Nichols, Emily

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Forestry and Wildlife Science


Recreational fishing license sales and expenditures fund aquatic resource operations and provide education and outreach services. With declines in participation, as measured by license sales, managers and researchers alike are interested in finding ways to secure future support for recreational fishing. Understanding fishing user groups and learning how to recruit, retain, and reactivate (R3) anglers is an example of such efforts. There is a particular interest in examining user groups who may be underserved by recreation providers. Historic participation in recreational freshwater fishing in Alabama has been low amongst minority groups, for example, and there is a need to understand demographic implications for recreational fishing participation. The purpose of this project was to gain a better understanding of angler participation behaviors across different population segments and address any outreach and education needs by identifying their 1) fishing related experiences, values, and motivations, 2) constraints that may prevent them from fishing in public water, and 3) constraint negotiation strategies that may enable them to increase their participation. The project used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to collect and analyze data. In spring 2018, we conducted nine semi-structured focus group meetings with African American and Latinx community members in seven urban and rural locations across the state. In spring 2019, we conducted statewide bilingual survey sampling of African American, Latinx, and White anglers who purchased freshwater fishing licenses in 2012-2017 and lapsed as of 2018. In summer 2019, we conducted a focus group with Latinx stakeholders in central Alabama concerning their fishing information related needs. In fall 2020, we conducted statewide bilingual survey sampling of individuals belonging to African American, Latinx, and White population segments who purchased freshwater fishing licenses in 2019 and 2020. We found important similarities and differences in the fishing histories, experiences, and behaviors of the three population segments. Fishing was culturally important to all segments, and they felt it should be passed down through the generations. We identified motivations (relaxation), constraints (lack of time), and negotiation strategies (improved access) that are characteristic of Alabama angler experiences. Some were significantly more important to minority segments than Whites and vice versa. Our findings can help managers to develop targeted education and outreach for fishing R3 to attract and retain Alabama fishing participation.