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Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes

Project Partner(s):

Project Duration:

Principal Investigator(s):

Research Assistant(s):

USGS, American Fisheries Society, USFWS, AZGFD, NPS, BLM, BOR, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

September 2004 to Present

Scott Bonar (lead editor), Wayne Hubert (coeditor, University of Wyoming), David Willis (coeditor, South Dakota State University) and about 50 authors from the US, Canada and Mexico. In total 284 biologists and managers from 107 agencies, universities and private industries contributed to the book as authors, reviewers or sponsors.

Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes

Standardization in industry, medicine and science has led to great advances. However, despite its benefits, freshwater fish sampling is generally unstandardized, or at most standardized locally. Standardization across large regions would allow for measurement of large-scale effects of climate or geography on fish populations; larger sample sizes to evaluate management techniques, reliable means to document rare species; easier communication; and simpler data sharing. With increased interaction among fisheries professionals worldwide, reasons for wide-scale standardization are more compelling than ever. The Fish Management Section of the American Fisheries Society in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USGS Cooperative Research Units Program, National Fish and Wildlife foundation, AFS Education and Computer User's Sections, and Arizona Game and Fish Department is developing standard sampling methods for North America. Almost 50 United States, Canadian and Mexican fish sampling experts are authors on a book on the subject. Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes describes standard methods to sample fish in specific environments so population indices can be more easily compared across regions and time. Environments include ponds, reservoirs, natural lakes, streams and rivers containing cold and warmwater fishes. This book provides rangewide and regional averages; calculated from over 4000 data sets from 42 states and provinces; of size structure, CPUE, growth, and condition for common fishes collected using methods discussed. Biologists can use these data to determine if fish from their waterbody are below, above, or at average for an index. These methods were reviewed by 54 representatives from 33 North American agencies and by biologists from six European and one African country. Final drafts were reviewed by an additional 36 sampling experts. In total 284 biologists from 107 agencies and organizations contributed as authors, reviewers, data providers and sponsors. These procedures will be useful to those hoping to benefit from standard sampling programs in their regions. The book was published August 2009. Since then, invited keynote addresses have been presented by the lead editor in the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic discussing the techniques; two symposiums at the North American meeting of the American Fisheries Society have been held; and numerous presentations on the techniques throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada have been given. Techniques are being adopted by various management agencies across North America, and current research is concentrating on data sharing, method calibration, and standardization of additional methods.

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