Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Colvin, Michael E.

Committee Member

Rush, Scott A.

Committee Member

Dunn, Corey

Committee Member

Hunt, Kevin M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Inland recreational fisheries has grown philosophically and scientifically to consider economic and sociopolitical aspects (non-biological) in addition to the biological. However, integrating biological and non-biological aspects of inland fisheries has been challenging. Thus, an opportunity exists to develop approaches and tools which operationalize planning and decision-making processes which include biological and non-biological aspects of a fishery. This dissertation expands the idea that a core set of goals and objectives is shared among and within inland fisheries agencies; that many routine operations of inland fisheries managers can be regimented or standardized; and the novel concept that current information and operations can be used to improve decision making through structured decision making and adaptive management approaches at the agency scale. In CHAPTER II, my results show that the goals of inland fisheries agencies tend to be more similar than different but have expanded and diversified since the 1970s. I suggest that changes in perspectives and communication technology, as well as provisions within nationwide funding mechanisms, have led to goals becoming more homogenous across the USA and more diverse within each bureau. In CHAPTER III, I found that standardized collection and careful curation of data has allowed one inland fisheries bureau to acquire a large fish and fisheries database and that managers use this database to summarize common fish population parameters and indices, craft objectives, and set targets. The regimentation of data management and analysis has helped managers within the inland fisheries bureau to assess fish populations and fisheries efficiently and effectively across waterbodies within their districts and state. In CHAPTER IV, I extend CHAPTERS II and III to show that biological and non-biological management objectives and their associated measurable attributes and management actions can be synthesized into a common set of decision elements. I demonstrate how common decision elements enable managers to easily structure decisions and help to address common problems at the agency scale. Using a subset of common decision elements, I demonstrate how existing agency operations (e.g., monitoring) can be used to expedite learning and improve decision making for a common problem faced by managers in multiple, similar systems.