The influence of human population change and aquatic invasive species establishment on future recreational fishing activities to the Canadian portion of the Laurentian Great Lakes

Eli Fenichel and 7 other contributors

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    We project how human population change (2018 to 2046) and aquatic invasive species (AIS) establishment events of bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.) and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) might combine to affect future Canadian recreational fishing activity for the Laurentian Great Lakes. Human population change is expected to affect the total number of fishing trips (increase of about 143 000 trips or 11.4%) more than any of the AIS establishment events (maximum decrease of about 44 000 trips or 3.5%). The projected 11.4% increase to the number of fishing trips from human population change, however, lags the 38% projected increase to Ontario, Canada's population from 2018 to 2046. Increasing urbanization and an aging population, which are associated with reduced rates of fishing participation, were responsible for this difference. The combined effects of human population change and MS establishment illustrate the importance of accounting for human population change as it reverses the conclusions and results in a projected net increase of between 92 000 and 125 000 in the number of fishing trips. The combined model also identifies potential growth areas for fishing such as shore fishing by urbanites on the western portion of Lake Ontario.