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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Natural Resource Management

First Advisor

Larry Gigliotti


anglers, surveys, evalutation


Fisheries management is comprised of the biota, habitat, and human users. Appreciating the human user is critical for ensuring support for management practices (e.g., habitat alterations and fishing regulations), investigating angler effort on the landscape (e.g., site selection and consumptive choices), and to get vital political and economic support for conservation. Agencies have limited resources from which to collect stakeholder information. Entities perform surveys when data is needed from stakeholders similar to the biological surveys conducted when data is needed about fisheries. Both are necessary for limiting uncertainty during decision-making processes. Advances in survey methods provide opportunities for agencies to improve how they collect information from human users. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks demonstrated its commitment to resource user research through eight mailed angler surveys over the last 19 years. However, internet surveys can also provide information relevant to fisheries management with lower costs and labor. Therefore, the agency has collected email addresses volunteered by a portion of license buyers for the purpose of online surveys. Email addresses allow agencies to send online survey invitations while controlling access to them. Internet survey data was compared to mail surveys of individuals not providing email addresses, and individuals not responding to the internet survey. Despite potential for bias due to incomplete email coverage and internet nonresponse, online survey data was comparable to both mail surveys. Agencies can consider appropriately conducted internet surveys as an effective stakeholder “sampling gear” when collecting information necessary for fisheries management. These results may also be applicable to other natural resource user populations including hunters, public land users, and land conservation enrollees.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Internet surveys -- Evaluation
Fishing surveys



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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