Keynote speakers

World Recreational Fishing Conference 9

Rotterdam, the Netherlands: 4-8 JULY 2021

The keynote speakers are

Josep Alos (Spain)

Tracking fish and fishers and the sustainability of recreational fisheries

With the recent advances in aquatic animal and human tracking, fish and fisheries ecologists have gained new opportunities to accurately analyze behavioral interactions between fish and fishers in a real context. How the management of recreational fisheries could benefit from this new technology? This work has revealed that the management of the behavioral diversity constitutes an overlooked component that may play a key role in achieving sustainable recreational fisheries at ecological and social levels.

Josep Alós is a marine ecologist at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (Mallorca Island, Spain). His main interests are fundamental and applied questions of life-history evolution and behavioral ecology in marine recreational fisheries viewed as complex systems. His broad analytical approach aims to shed light on major social-ecological questions by developing robust quantitative tools, applying new tracking technologies, developing novel artificial intelligence and individual-based algorithms, and recently, by applying state-of-the-art genomics.

Despite his relatively young research career, he has published over eighty SCI-articles, some of them in prestigious international multidisciplinary journals and he participated in over thirty national and international projects on marine recreational fisheries resilience.

Josep Alos
Judy Mann-Lang (South Africa)

Judy Mann-Lang (South Africa)

Closing the communication triangle – scientists, managers and anglers

To integrate anglers more effectively into fisheries management requires a better understanding of anglers and how to communicate more effectively with them. Integrating social dimensions into fisheries management is no longer desirable – it is critical. In this fast-changing communication landscape communication with anglers is increasingly possible but still not without its challenges.  This presentation will integrate research from human behaviour change and conservation psychology with best practice case studies on communication for conservation. 

Judy Mann is passionate about marine conservation and has focused her career on helping people to care for the oceans. She has worked for the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) in Durban since 1992. She was a research scientist in SAAMBR’s Oceanographic Research Institute, where she worked with recreational fishermen and fisheries managers. She led the Sea World Education Department for 10 years. She was the first woman Chief Executive Officer of SAAMBR. She is currently the Conservation Strategist of the Association.

With the realization that without a better understanding of people we are unlikely to solve our conservation challenges, she has shifted her research focus from fish to people. Her research now seeks to understand the role of communication in supporting conservation behavior. More specifically, how we can communicate more effectively to achieve the behavior change needed to address environmental problems.

Meaghan Guckian (USA)

Communicating for conservation: understanding social influence in recreational fishing

For a recreational context strongly dependent on voluntary compliance, understanding the role and impact social norms is paramount. Forms of interpersonal communication, including informal social sanctions, have long been recognized as powerful mechanisms for shifting normative perceptions and shared values and in turn, can increase cooperative behavior. This talk will examine governance through a bottom-up lens by examining anglers’ normative (mis)perceptions with respect to handling practices and further consider how anglers’ intentional interactions with others  may translate to  long-term changes in angler behavior.


Meaghan Guckian is core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England and is the director of the Conservation Psychology Institute. She specializes in communication, behavior and decision-making and teaches graduate courses in related subjects, including science communication, environmental decision-making, conservation psychology and social science research design.

Meaghan’s research broadly seeks to examine how underlying psychological, social and contextual factors influence individual and collective environmental decision-making. In the context of recreational angling, Meaghan’s research explores how social motivations and interactions can buttress and/or inhibit positive engagement with evidence-based catch-and-release best practices.


Johan Attby (Sweden)

How do we hook the next generation of anglers?

Kids today have an abundance of activities to choose between. How can fishing compete with Fortnight and Pokemon Go? Fishbrain has proven it’s possible and their founder will share their learnings doing so. These learnings can be amplified but that requires that the industry partner up and collaborate and some concrete actions for this will be presented in this session. 

Johan Attby is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for building game changing businesses. He founded the software company Tific which he grew in Silicon Valley with an international customers base including Microsoft and Symantec and in 2011 the company was acquired by PlumChoice, Inc. He is now founder and CEO of Fishbrain which is a platform and a community for the world’s largest hobby – sport fishing.

He was awarded “Founder of the year” in Sweden by Nordic Startup Awards in 2015. Johan Attby holds a Master in Engineering Physics from Chalmers University of Technology and was doing a Ph.D in AI before turning entrepreneur.

Gretchen Hansen (USA)

From the lake to the landscape: managing freshwater fisheries under global change

In this presentation, I will provide a framework for managing freshwater recreational fisheries for resilience under conditions of environmental change across multiple scales, drawing on examples from freshwater recreational fisheries in North America. This framework focuses on monitoring, managing for robust and resilient systems, and adaptive management.

Gretchen Hansen is an assistant professor in the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on largescale drivers of change in freshwater ecosystems, including climate, land use, and invasive species. She is especially interested in how local management and lake characteristics influence the resilience of fish populations and communities to regional and global change. Gretchen previously worked as a research scientist for state fisheries management agencies, and is committing to conducting actionable science via collaboration with stakeholders and managers. To answer complex questions she employs multiple approaches including statistical analyses of historical data, observational field studies, simulation modeling, and large-scale experimentation.


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