MANAGEMENT ISSUE: Over the past 5 years, the GLFC has invested millions of dollars in telemetry infrastructure and projects related to native fish restoration and improving sea lamprey control. The establishment of the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS) provides an opportunity for fish telemetry researchers to share data and resources. However, sharing telemetry findings with the management community and having that information embraced and used within decision making may prove more difficult. Are managers prepared for an entirely new type of knowledge about fish? Do they understand the biases and limitations of telemetry data relative to other tools they use, and how does this influence their willingness to trust and use such data? What can be done to help managers understand the strengths and limitations of telemetry data? What can be done to share success stories with managers? Is it possible to work with managers to identify research priorities that could be addressed with telemetry? Telemetry data could have a major impact on the management of fish in the Laurentian Great Lakes if the proper transfer of that information is made to managers. We propose a combination of activities (ranging from social science surveys to workshops and production of management briefs) to facilitate effective knowledge mobilization and bi-directional communication (between scientists and managers) related to fish telemetry data in the Laurentian Great Lakes.
AVAILABLE SCIENCE: Although fish telemetry dates to the 1950s, only recently has telemetry science begun to directly interface with fishery management. Telemetry studies in the Great Lakes rapidly are generating findings and it is essential to ensure that such information is effectively transferred so that it can be used appropriately by managers. However, research (e.g., Young et al. 2013. J Int Wild Law Policy 16:331) has identified a number of barriers to telemetry knowledge use by managers. Often, stakeholders and managers may not consider telemetry data to be entirely reliable, with concerns involving tagging effects and sample size, among other variables yielding uncertainty. Recent social science surveys led by our team and focused on telemetry science application in Fraser River management have helped us to understand stakeholder and regulator perspectives on telemetry science, and have helped identify opportunities for improving the likelihood that research results will be appropriately considered in management decision making. Similar work in the Great Lakes would help to understand the potential barriers that exist for telemetry information transfer and enable researchers and knowledge brokers to address these issues proactively and contribute to the information sharing strategy of the 2008 Joint Strategic Plan. Moreover, when science does exist, managers may not have the training needed to interpret such data and understand the strengths and limitations. Similarly, they may not find telemetry findings accessible if the primary means of sharing them is through peer-reviewed outlets. With the output of scientific publications related to telemetry in the Great Lakes increasing dramatically, it is timely to transfer such information to the management community.
SUGGESTED DELIVERY MECHANISM: The overall goal of this project is to understand and improve science transfer related to fish telemetry in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We have four inter-related project components (and objectives) that will collectively address the STP goal of improving fishery management to successfully achieve fish community objectives in the Laurentian Great Lakes. 1. IDENTIFY BARRIERS AND OPPORTUNITIES: We propose to understand and identify barriers for knowledge transfer and adoption of telemetry science by fisheries managers. 2. BE CLEAR ABOUT LIMITATIONS: We propose to develop tools to help managers to understand the technical aspects of telemetry (including opportunities and limitations) needed to identify if and when telemetry findings can inform management. 3. SHARE SUCCESSES: We propose to develop management briefs that demonstrate the successes (and failures) in terms of telemetry science informing management in the Great Lakes. 4. INCREASE RELEVANCY: We propose to identify lake-specific information needs concerning that could be addressed with telemetry and share them with the research community to help them identify specific management needs that could serve the basis for future research proposals in collaboration with managers.