Per trip changes to the economic value of Ontario, Canada anglers fishing the Laurentian Great Lakes under target species transitions

Eli Fenichel and 3 other contributors

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    Changing fish communities in the Laurentian Great Lakes could substantially affect how anglers value fishing trips. Using responses from licensed Ontario, Canada anglers to potential fishing trip options, we estimated changes to per-trip values for transitioning from a walleye (Sander vitreus) to a bass (Micropterus spp.) fishery, and from a Chinook Salmon (Oncorynchus tshawytscha) to a lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) fishery. These walleye and salmon transitions, respectively, were estimated to produce large per-trip losses for active ($64 and $35 CAD 2017) and potentially large losses for non-active but interested Great Lakes anglers ($29 and $34). These aggregate estimates masked significant differences among anglers. For example, a class of more-specialized, active anglers would lose more from walleye ($102) and from salmon ($46) transitions than would less specialized anglers ($19 and $2, respectively). These results confirm that fish community changes can strongly affect economic values among active and potential Great Lakes anglers.