Angler Attitudes and Preferences towards Fishery Management at Marben Public Fishing Area, Georgia
Roop, H. J., C. A. Jennings, and N. C. Poudyal.  2014.  Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, October 19-21,2014, Destin,Florida.

Understanding anglersí characteristics, preferences, and attitudes towards fishery management is important for improving angler satisfaction and securing public support for management. A non-uniform roving creel survey was conducted at the Marben Public Fishing Area in Mansfield, Georgia during 2013 to collect information to characterize the angling population and examine anglersí fishing preferences and attitudes towards various aspects of fisheries management. A two-sample t-test (t = 5.79, df = 803, p = 4.87E-09) indicated that anglers rated the quality of fishing at Maben PFA significantly above the expected average and significantly higher than other comparable fishing sites. Analysis of variance showed statistically significant differences in anglersí perception of quality of fishing among different fishing seasons (F = 3.69, df = 3, 545, p = 0.01). Specifically, seasons characterized by relatively high fishing activity (i.e., effort, catch, and harvest) positively influenced anglersí perceptions of fishery quality. Differences between anglersí primary target species and quality of fishing ranks were not statistically significant (F = 0.93, df = 4, 542, p = 0.44), which suggests that anglersí perceptions of fishing quality were unaffected by species they were targeting. Factors that were negatively related to anglerís fishing satisfaction were primarily poor catch, operating hours, and fluctuating water levels. Most anglers were satisfied with creel limits for all sport fish species and a 14Ē minimum size limit for Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides. These results suggest that anglers were generally satisfied with the current management of the fishery; and on average, had a positive opinion regarding the quality of fishing at Marben PFA. However, anglers may benefit from educational efforts to provide information regarding specific management efforts or administrative actions (e.g., winter drawdown, reduced operating hours) that reportedly take away from angler satisfaction.