Shannon Bower is a fisheries researcher and PhD candidate in the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario) and a passionate advocate for freshwater conservation. This advocacy was born out of decades spent discovering, experiencing, and enjoying wild spaces. As a researcher, Shannon studies the growth of recreational fisheries in developing and emerging economies, an undervalued and understudied sector with enormous potential for both benefit and impact. In this research, she uses a social-ecological systems approach to understand the biological, social, and economic dynamics of catch-and-release fisheries using a variety of methods to provide fisheries stakeholders with the information they need to manage these target populations sustainably.
Shannon believes there is a pressing need for study of recreational fishing that adopts transdisciplinary and participatory research approaches to address key issues in the sector. Issues such as conflicts situations, concerns regarding fishing rights and subsistence harvest needs, cultural norms related to catch and release practices, and data deficiencies surrounding species-specific responses to typical recreational fishing activities need to be addressed to support sustainable management of fish populations and benefit fishing communities.
I've been fishing since I was little. My grandfather was a reporter who had a column called Rod and Gun in the local paper during the 50's, where he advocated for catch and release of trophy fish. He taught my dad to fish and my dad taught me. I love learned new tricks and techniques from people and learn something new from everyone I fish with. I love all kinds of fishing, but small rivers and streams are my ultimate favourite.
I took up fly fishing about four years ago, but am still pretty terrible at it. Rumour has it sucking at something is the first step to being great at it, so I expect to magically turn pro any day now.
I'm in love with my study species and the rivers of India. Mahseer (of any species) are really cool fish, and it's been amazing to have the chance to get to learn about them and work with all of the fantastic people involved with recreational fishing in India. This is a fish that should be on everyone's bucket list, and India is an incredible country to visit. I'm super excited to be the Director of Recreational Angling for the Mahseer Trust, a UK-based charity working towards mahseer and river conservation in mahseer countries across Asia.
Rec Fish Reels is just an FB page I use to talk about recreational fisheries research (and associated topics). Most of the people who follow it are from South Asia, so I try to post content that's relevant to that area and I'm excited to introduce #keepemwet over there.
Photo- Raja PK, metaphoronline.in