Welcome to WRFC8

Balancing Values - The Future of Recreational Fishing Around the World

The 8th World Recreational Fishing Conference is returning to Canada for 2017. The conference unites the global recreational fishing community - providing an essential forum to discuss current research. Held every three years, this is the only international conference focused solely on recreational fisheries. The host organization for the 2017 conference is the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, in cooperation with the Sport Fishing Institute of BC.

Why Attend

Expert Talks

Learn about advances in recreational fisheries research and management from the world's leading experts. Recent findings on management strategies, monitoring & assessment, social & economic studies, and conservation tools will be presented.

Expand Your Network

The conference provides a unique opportunity to interact with scholars, government scientists and managers, consultants, and industry leaders. Learn from & connect with 350+ individuals from 20+ countries from around the world.

Who Should Attend

University Scientists
Government Scientists
Non-profit Scientist
Industry Leaders
Fisheries Managers
Fisheries Researchers

Featured and Keynote Speakers

Ray Hilborn

Managing Marine Fisheries to Maximize Recreational Values

Steve Carpenter

Seeking a Safe Operating Space for People and Nature: Roles of Recreational Fisheries

Josh Abbott

Improving Recreational Fisheries Management: Some Thoughts from the Dismal Science

Brian Chan

The B.C. Small Lakes Fishery – Anglers as an Innovative Tool for Management


Conference Theme: Balancing Values - The Future of Recreational Fishing Around the World

The WRFC8 International Scientific Committee developed the following session themes, based on   accepted abstract submissions, to address the breadth of interests in recreational fisheries worldwide. Abstracts for the oral and poster presentations are available under each session.

The abstracts for the Poster Session are available in PDF format here.

The Poster Reception is sponsored by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

The abstracts for Symposium I are available in PDF format here.

Symposium in honour of Wolfgang Haider: A primer to human dimensions and economics research for understanding angler behaviour and outcomes of management.  

There is increasing recognition of the importance of understanding human dimensions of recreational fisheries and of adopting interdisciplinary research approaches. The recognition arises because exploited fish stocks cannot be managed independently of people and an implicit (and sometimes explicit) goal of recreational fisheries management is to contribute to, and ideally maximize, human well-being while conserving critical natural capital. This Symposium focuses on topics and methods that are important for understanding anglers’ behaviors and the outcomes from these behaviors (e.g. well-being, satisfaction).

Session Organizers:
Robert Arlinghaus, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany
Len Hunt, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Thunder Bay, Canada

Symposium sponsored by: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
The abstracts for Symposium II are available in PDF format here.

This conference session will focus on catch-and-release science and the application of that knowledge to reduce impacts on recreational fish stocks. Contributions under this session describe challenges and solutions related to the estimation and reduction of fish release mortality in freshwater and marine systems. Accurate estimation of release mortality is important to stock assessment and sustainable management of fisheries. Reduction of release mortality in catch-and-release fisheries is important to anglers and managers alike. Contributions under this sessions also provide insight and solutions for reducing sub-lethal impacts on fish that are caught and released by recreational anglers.  This session should be of interest to state/provincial and federal fishery biologists and managers, as well as academics, anglers, and representatives of conservation organizations who are involved in recreational fisheries management.  Information from contributions in this session should also help shape best practices guidelines for catch-and-release fishing.

Session Organizers:
Steven K. Cooke, Carleton University, Ottawa
Andy J. Danylchuk, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lee R. Benaka, NOAA Fisheries, Silver Spring, MD

Symposium sponsored by: Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
The abstracts for Symposium III are available in PDF format here.

Freshwater and coastal fish stocks support large recreational fisheries, providing considerable social and economic benefits to both regional and national economies. While harvest by recreational fisheries can impact fish, the main threats to the fisheries targeted by recreational fishers are primarily due to habitat degradation. Progressively, governments and more importantly recreational fishers are increasing efforts to rehabilitate and restore fish habitat structure and function. This session will explore the following: types of activities undertaken by recreational fishers either as volunteers or in supporting recreational fishing organisations; fish outcomes from habitat work by recreational fishers; how fishers are getting engaged in this type of work and the potential role of citizen science; partnerships with government and conservation groups; telling the story of great outcomes driven by fishers.

Session Organizer:
Craig Copeland, Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation, Wollongbar, NSW

Symposium sponsored by: Pacific Salmon Foundation
The abstracts for this session are available in PDF format here.

Effective monitoring and assessment of all aspects of recreational fisheries is crucial in maintaining viable fisheries to ensure that they sustain their social and economic value into the future. In this session contributions evaluate and provide case studies of biological and human dimensions monitoring and assessment of stocks, regulations, and management of a diversity of recreational fisheries. 

Session sponsored by: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
The abstracts for Session 2 are available in PDF format here.

Session sponsored by: Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

The abstracts for this session are available in PDF format here.

Worldwide, fish stocking has been implemented as a key tool in recreational fishery management for many decades.  Stocking programs have been developed for a variety of reasons: to create new fisheries or enhance existing ones, to contribute to conservation and recovery initiatives for native sport species and as compensation where major development has eliminated or significantly reduced natural production.  The potential benefits are significant.  Stocked systems can provide quality angling opportunities where none may otherwise exist, resulting in a variety of social and economic benefits. Stocked systems can reduce the angling pressure on non-enhanced sport fish populations. However, increasing evidence indicates that fish stocking can also have significant detrimental effects on native species and ecosystems. A balance must be established to ensure that stocking for recreational angling purposes does not undermine conservation efforts to protect native biodiversity.  This session explores different applications of fish stocking to support recreational fisheries for both marine and freshwater situations around the world.

Session sponsored by: Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

The abstracts for Session 4 are available in PDF format here.

Session sponsored by: British Columbia's Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
The abstracts for Session 5 are available in PDF format here.

Session sponsored by: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
The abstracts for Session 6 are available in PDF format here.

Value is measured by what people give up and the trade-offs they make. This session explores trade-offs made by recreational anglers. Speakers discuss approaches to measuring the trade-offs that recreational fishers make among fishing opportunities and behaviors, as well as between fishing and other activities. Some of the fishing opportunities considered in this session are private fishing trips, others are for-hire; some are freshwater and some are salt water; and some are North America while others are in Europe. Speakers in this session generally connect these trade-offs to valuation, but also explore distribution of benefits and the role recreational fisheries play in local and regional economies.

Session sponsored by: Bass Pro Shops
Abstracts for Session 7 are available in PDF format here.

The application of genetic approaches and genomics technologies in fisheries science and management has increased rapidly over the last 10 years, driven by unique opportunities  to address pressing issues in fisheries management and conservation that are not tractable using other methods coupled with falling costs and higher throughput. As such, genetic and genomic applications to the unique issues facing recreational fisheries, such as stock delineation and abundance, or cost-benefits of stocking practices globally represent an important and exciting emerging field of study. The scope of the session will be broad, encompassing: genomics and gene expression (transcriptomics) applied to population- and individual-level processes and patterns, aquatic meta-genomics and -transcritomics involving all aquatic taxa relevant to sustainable recreational fisheries, environmental DNA applications, transcriptomic profiling of targets species’ response to stressors, and focussed applications to molecular genetic markers to issues in recreational fish management and conservation, not the least being stocking practices to enhance population abundance.

Session Organizers:
L. Bernatchez, Laval University
Trish Shulte, University of Bristish Columbia
D. Heath University of Windsor

Session sponsored by: Pacific Salmon Foundation
The abstracts for Session 8 are available in PDF format here.

Session sponsored by: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Abstracts for the Contributed Papers session are available in PDF format here.

Session sponsored by: Pacific Salmon Foundation
The abstracts for the Billfish Workshop Session are available in PDF format here.

Exploring Innovative Approaches to Managing Highly Migratory Recreational Fisheries
Billfish species (blue and white marlin, sailfish, and spearfishes) make significant contributions to Caribbean economies through diverse commercial and recreational fisheries sectors. Billfish are frequent incidental by-catch species within large scale commercial fisheries targeting tunas both within and beyond national jurisdictions. They are also more specifically targeted within small scale commercial and artisanal fisheries which tend to be multi-species in nature and typically supply low value local markets, but do provide disproportionate levels of socio-economic support to coastal communities. Recreational fisheries which fall within a hugely capitalized global tourism industry place a much higher, by orders of magnitude, financial value upon live billfish through targeting them as trophy species. This fishery sector also seeks to minimize its’ harvest effect upon billfish species by promoting a tag and/or release ethos among its participants; utilizing remarkably influential and successful peer pressure incentives on a global scale.
This session will focus on the ongoing progress of The Caribbean Billfish Project (CBP), a 1.95 million USD project component of the GEF-funded, World Bank implemented component of the Ocean Partnership for Sustainable Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation Models for Innovation and Reform Project. The CBP is executed through the Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission (WECAFC) of the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The project aims to target the divergence in value noted for billfish between commercial and recreational fishery sectors, while testing innovative fishery management methods and developing business plans pursuant of the sustainable management and conservation of billfish within the Western Central Atlantic Ocean.
Workshop Organizers:
Leah Baumwell, International Game Fish Association, Florida
Roy Bealey, Food and Agriculture Organization, Barbados

Workshop sponsored by: Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission

Program and Talks

The complete WRFC8 conference program is available here and the daily Session and Symposium schedules are below. Use the talk reference number to find the relevant abstract, posted in the 'Sessions' section above. 



Special WRFC8 issue of Fisheries Research 
The journal Fisheries Research will be publishing a special WRFC8 issue post conference. All presenters interested in contributing can click here for more information. Note that the expressions of interest deadline was extended to July 28, 2017.

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The registration desk will be open from 12.00pm - 8.00pm on Sunday 16th July, 2017, and from 7:30am onwards for the remainder of the conference.

Your ticket includes:

  • Access to all presentations, breakout sessions and networking events.
  • Coffee breaks and lunches during the entire conference.
  • July 16 - welcome reception with appetizers at the Victoria Conference Centre.
  • July 18 - poster session reception with canapes at the Victoria Conference Centre.
  • July 19 - conference reception at the Royal BC Museum. Enjoy dinner and drinks while exploring the First Peoples and Modern History Galleries at this stand-up event. Additional dinner tickets for guests and children can be purchased, prior to July 5, through the buy tickets button below.


  • $375 + tax (CAD) - early registration (ended April 16, 2017)
  • $425 + tax (CAD) - regular registration
  • $275 + tax (CAD) - students*

*Student passes are available to those registered in full-time academic studies. Current Student ID must be shown at check-in.

Travel Help

Victoria is the provincial capital of British Columbia, and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on Canada’s Pacific coast.


The Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8W 3MZ 


Victoria is a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer. We have negotiated block rooms at discounted rates and highly recommend booking your hotel early.  Late registrants may be unable to find accommodation within the city. 

Getting There

While Victoria is on an island, it is easy to get to. And once you arrive at the conference, there is no need for a rental vehicle. The conference centre, accomodations, restaurants and attractions are all within easy walking distance.

Arriving by air

Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is well served with flights throughout North America including non-stop service from Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle.

Downtown Victoria is also serviced by local and regional flights — Harbour Air Seaplanes, Helijet and Kenmore Air Seaplanes — which serve Vancouver and Seattle.

Arriving by ferry

Ferry service connects Victoria (Vancouver Island) to mainland British Columbia, Canada, and to Washington State, USA.

BC Ferries provides frequent service between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Swartz Bay, 32 km north of Victoria.

From Washington State, travel to Victoria via the Black Ball Ferry LineClipper, or Washington State Ferries.

Ground transportation

Travel from Victoria International Airport to downtown Victoria takes approximately 30 minutes.

The BC Ferries Connector provides daily scheduled bus service between Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Victoria. Bus transportation includes a 95 minute ferry ride through the Gulf Islands on BC Ferries.

Things to do in Victoria:

Activities and Attractions

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Fishing in Victoria or British Columbia

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