Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institut für Agrar- und Gartenbauwissenschaften


Integratives Fischereimanagement, (speziell Angelfischerei)


We pursue a strongly integrative research program aimed at understanding the social, economic, biological, ecological and evolutionary dimensions of freshwater recreational fisheries. We consider recreational fisheries to constitute a prime example of a coupled social-ecological system. Many of our projects have inter- or even trans disciplinary components and blend the natural and the social sciences, with the aim of a better understanding of recreational fisheries as systems and to derive recommendations for sustainable management. In our natural scientific research questions we focus on understanding the biological impacts of recreational fisheries and other forms of fisheries. Within our social science research branch we study the human dimensions and the behaviour of anglers and the conflicts surrounding fish resource use. We also ask some basic fish ecological questions, focusing on the behavioural ecology of freshwater fishes. We aim at integration of social and natural science whenever possible to achieve a more holistic understanding of fisheries resource use.


For further information about research projects, see:         




[ 1 ] Integrative research areas


Recreational fisheries as social-ecological systems

The cornerstone of our work is analyzing the interactions and feedbacks of anglers and fish stocks in freshwater landscapes. We conceptualize recreational fisheries as strongly coupled systems with non-linear feedbacks and cross-scale interactions. We particularly emphasize the human side of the complex interaction by developing empirical models of angler behaviour and integrating them with fish population models.


Representative publications:

Johnston, F.D., Arlinghaus, R., Dieckmann, U. 2010. Diversity and complexity of angler behaviour drive socially optimal regulations in a bioeconomic recreational-fisheries model. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 67, 1507-1531.


Matsumura, S., R. Arlinghaus, U. Dieckmann. 2010. Foraging on spatially distributed resources with sub-optimal movement, travelling costs, and imperfect information: departures from the ideal free distribution. Oikos, 119, 1469-1483.


Hunt, L., Arlinghaus, R., Lester, L., Kushneriuk, R. 2011. The effects of regional angling effort, angler behaviour, and harvesting efficiency on landscape patterns of overfishing. Ecological Applications, 21:2555-2575.


Hunt, L., S.G. Sutton, R. Arlinghaus. 2013. Illustrating the critical role of human dimensions research for understanding and managing recreational fisheries within a social-ecological system framework. Fisheries Management and Ecology 20:111-124.


Johnston, F.D., R. Arlinghaus, U. Dieckmann. 2013. Life history, angler behaviour, and optimal management of recreational fisheries. Fish and Fisheries, in press.



Recreational fisheries management

We develop interdisciplinary frameworks, principles and approaches to help national and international recreational fisheries move towards sustainability. Much of this work is synthetic based on world-wide experiences and published literature.


Representative publications:

Arlinghaus, R., T. Mehner, I.G. Cowx. 2002. Reconciling traditional inland fisheries management and sustainability in industrialized countries, with emphasis on Europe. Fish and Fisheries 3:261-316.


Arlinghaus, R. 2006. Der unterschätzte Angler. Kosmos, Stuttgart, 168 pp.


Arlinghaus, R. 2006. Overcoming human obstacles to conservation of recreational fishery resources, with emphasis on central Europe. Environmental Conservation, 33:46-59.


Lewin, W.-C., R. Arlinghaus, T. Mehner. 2006. Documented and potential biological impacts of recreational fishing: insights for management and conservation. Reviews in Fisheries Science, 14:305-367.


Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2012). Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries: Recreational Fisheries. FAO, Rome, 192 pp. (drafted by R. Arlinghaus, S.J. Cooke & B.M. Johnson).



[ 2 ] Fisheries Ecology and Evolution


Fisheries-induced evolution

We are studying how recreational fisheries change the life-history, behaviour and physiology of exploited fish stocks through directional selection. We are using mathematical models and experimental studies models. Currently, we are particularly interested in understanding the relationship of behaviour, personality and vulnerability to fishing.


Representative publications:

Uusi-Heikkilä, S., C. Wolter, T. Klefoth, R. Arlinghaus. 2008. A behavioural perspective on fishing-induced evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 23, 419-421.


Jørgensen, C., K.Enberg, E. Dunlop, R. Arlinghaus, D.S. Boukal, K. Brander, B. Ernande, A. Gårdmark, F. Johnston, S. Matsumura, H. Pardoe, K. Raab, A. Silva, A. Vainikka, U. Dieckmann, M. Heino, A.D. Rijnsdorp. 2007. Managing evolving fish stocks. Science, 318:1247-1248.


Matsumura, S., R. Arlinghaus, U. Dieckmann. 2011. Assessing evolutionary consequences of size-selective recreational fishing on multiple life-history traits, with an application to northern pike (Esox lucius). Evolutionary Ecology, 25:711-735.


Alós, J., M. Palmer, R. Arlinghaus 2012. Consistent selection towards low activity phenotypes when catchability depends on encounters among human Predators and Fish. PLoS One 7(10): e48030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048030.


Sutter, D.A.H. C.D. Suski, D.P. Philipp, T. Klefoth, D.H. Wahl, P. Kersten, S.J. Cooke, R. Arlinghaus. 2012. Recreational fishing selectively captures individuals with the highest fitness potential. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., 109:20960-20965.



Catchability and catch rates in recreational fisheries

One of the key parameters in every fishery model is the catchability of a specific gear. Density-dependent catchability, for example, may lead to depensation and collapse of fisheries. We are studying questions of catchability and determinants of catch rates of recreational angling gear.


Representative publications:

Klefoth, T., T. Pieterek, C. Skov, R. Arlinghaus. 2013. Impacts of domestication on angling vulnerability of carp (Cyprinus carpio): the role of learning, foraging behavior and food preferences. Fisheries Management and Ecology 20:174-186.


Heermann, L., M. Emmrich, M. Hayen, M. Dorow, J. Borcherding, R. Arlinghaus. 2013. Explaining recreational angling catch rates of Eurasian perch, Perca fluviatilis L. – the role of natural and fishing-related environmental factors. Fisheries Management and Ecology, in press.


Rapp, T., S.J. Cooke, R. Arlinghaus. 2008. Conservation of specialized fisheries resources: the importance of hook size in recreational angling for large common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). Fisheries Research, 94, 79-83.


Kuparinen, A., T. Klefoth, R. Arlinghaus. 2010. Abiotic and fishing-related correlates of angling catch rates in pike Esox lucius. Fisheries Research, 105, 111-117.


Alós, J., R. Arlinghaus, M. Palmer, D. March, I. Álvarez. 2009. The influence of type of natural bait on fish catches and hooking location in a mixed-species marine recreational fishery, with implications for management. Fisheries Research, 97, 270-277.



Understanding and managing of fish stocking

We conduct experiments to learn about the conditions under which stocking provides desirable benefits and when it produces no tangible effects and even negative outcomes. We use fisheries biological approaches, genetics and modelling to accomplish our goals.


Representative publications:

Skov, C., A. koed, R. Arlinghaus. 2011. Dispersal, growth and diet of stocked and wild northern pike (Esox lucius) fry in a natural shallow lake, with implications for management of pike stocking programs. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 31:1177–1186.


Johnson, B.M., R. Arlinghaus, P. Martinez. 2009. Are we doing all we can to stem the tide of illegal fish stocking? Fisheries, 34, 389-394.


Lewin, W.-C., D. McPhee, R. Arlinghaus. 2008. Biological impacts of recreational fishing resulting from exploitation, stocking and introduction. In. Aas, Ø., R. Arlinghaus, R.B. Ditton, D. Policansky, H.L. Schramm Jr., eds., Global Challenges in Recreational Fisheries. Blackwell Science, Oxford, 75-92.


van Poorten, B., R. Arlinghaus, K. Daedlow, S. Haertel-Borer. 2011. Social-ecological interactions, management panaceas, and the future of wild fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 108:12554-12559.



Harvest regulations

We have been at the forefront of studying the effects of alternative management tools such as harvest slots on the performance of recreational fisheries. We develop the theoretical models and predictions that are beginning to receive substantial empirical support.


Representative publications:

Gwinn, D.C., Allen, M.S., Johnston, F.D., Brown, P., Todd, C.R., Arlinghaus, R. 2013. Rethinking length-based fisheries regulations: the value of protecting old and large fish with harvest slots. Fish and Fisheries, in press.


Beardmore, B., Dorow, M., Haider, W., Arlinghaus, R. 2011. The elasticity of fishing effort response and harvest outcomes to altered regulatory policies in eel (Anguilla anguilla) recreational angling. Fisheries Research, 110, 136-148.


Arlinghaus, R., S. Matsumura, U. Dieckmann. 2010. The conservation and fishery benefits of protecting large pike (Esox lucius L.) by harvest regulations in recreational fishing. Biological Conservation, 143, 1444-1459.


Alós, J., R. Arlinghaus. 2013. Impacts of partial marine protected areas on coastal fish communities exploited by recreational angling. Fisheries Research 137, 88-96.


Allen, M., M.J. Hanson, R. Ahrends, R. Arlinghaus. 2013. Dynamic angling effort influences the value of minimum-length limits to prevent recruitment overfishing. Fisheries Management and Ecology 20:247-257.




We study the effects of catch-and-release on target fish stocks using both field-scale and laboratory experiments. We integrate physiology, behaviour and fate.


Representative publications:

Arlinghaus, R., T. Klefoth, S.J. Cooke, A. Gingerich, C.J. Suski. 2009. Physiological and behavioural consequences of catch-and-release angling on northern pike (Esox lucius). Fisheries Research, 97, 223-233.


Hühn, D. & R. Arlinghaus. 2011. Determinants of hooking mortality in freshwater recreational fisheries: a quantitative meta-analysis. American Fisheries Society Symposium 75, 141-170.


Arlinghaus, R., S. J. Cooke, J. Lyman, D. Policansky, A. Schwab, C. Suski, S.G. Sutton, E.B. Thorstad. 2007. Understanding the complexity of catch-and-release in recreational fishing: an integrative synthesis of global knowledge from historical, ethical, social, and biological perspectives. Reviews in Fisheries Science, 15:75-167.


Rapp, T., J. Hallermann, S.J. Cooke, S.K. Hetz, S. Wuertz, R. Arlinghaus. 2012. Physiological and behavioural consequences of capture and retention in carp sacks on common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.), with implications for catch-and-release recreational fishing. Fisheries Research 125-126:57-68.


Klefoth, T., A. Kobler, R. Arlinghaus. 2011. Behavioural and fitness consequences of direct and indirect non-lethal  disturbances in a catch-and-release northern pike (Esox lucius) fishery. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems, 403, 11 (available online).



[ 3 ] Social sciences of fisheries


Human dimensions of recreational fisheries

We design social surveys, describe the diversity of anglers and study the governance and property rights aspects that affect recreational fisheries.


Representative publications:

Arlinghaus, R. 2004. Angelfischerei in Deutschland – eine soziale und ökonomische Analyse. Berichte des IGB 18, 168 pp.


Arlinghaus, R. 2006. On the apparently striking disconnect between motivation and satisfaction in recreational fishing: the case of catch orientation of German anglers. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 26:592-605.


Dorow, M., B. Beardmore, W. Haider, R. Arlinghaus. 2010. Winners and losers of conservation policies for European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.): an economic welfare analysis for differently specialised anglers. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 17, 106-125.


Beardmore, B., W. Haider, L. Hunt, R. Arlinghaus. 2011. The importance of trip context for determining primary angler motivations: are more specialized anglers more catch-oriented than previously believed? North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 31, 861-879.


Parkkila, K., R. Arlinghaus, J. Artell, B. Gentner, W. Haider, Ø. Aas, D. Barton, E. Roth, M. Sipponen. 2010. Methodologies for assessing socio-economic benefits of European inland recreational fisheries. EIFAC Occasional Paper, 46, 102 pp.



Fish welfare and the ethics of fishing

We have been promoting a pragmatic view to fish welfare and have also helped re-analyse

whether fish feel pain. We study these questions to ask questions about the ethics of recreational fishing.


Representative publications:

Arlinghaus, R., Schwab, A., Riepe, C., Teel, T. 2012.  A primer on anti-angling philosophy and its relevance for recreational fisheries in urbanized societies. Fisheries 37:153-164.


Arlinghaus, R., S.J. Cooke, A. Schwab, I.G. Cooke. 2007. Fish welfare: a challenge of the feelings-based approach, with implications for recreational fishing. Fish and Fisheries, 8:57-71.


Arlinghaus, R. 2007. Voluntary catch-and-release can generate conflict within the recreational angling community: a qualitative case study of specialised carp, Cyprinus carpio, angling in Germany. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 14:161-171.


Arlinghaus, R., A. Schwab. 2011. Five ethical challenges to recreational fishing: what they are and what they mean. American Fisheries Society Symposium 75, 219-234.


Arlinghaus, R., S.J. Cooke, A. Schwab, I.G. Cooke. 2009. Contrasting pragmatic and suffering-centred approaches to fish welfare in recreational fishing. Journal of Fish Biology, 75, 2448-2463.


Rose, J.D., R. Arlinghaus, S.J. Cooke, B.K. Diggles, W. Sawynok, E.D. Stevens and C.D.L. Wynne 2013. Can fish really feel pain? Fish and Fisheries, in press.



[ 4 ] Fish populations dynamics and fish behavior


Behavioural Ecology

Finally, our basic science branch is devoted to studying the ecological consequences of fish behavioural types, focusing on the wild using a cutting-edge telemetry system installed in a natural lake.


Representative publications:

Krause, J., Krause, S., Arlinghaus, R., Psorakis, I., Roberts, S., Rutz, C. 2013. Reality mining of animal social systems. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28:441-451.


O’Connor, C.M., K.M. Gilmour, R. Arlinghaus, C.T. Hasler, D.P. Philipp, S.J. Cooke. 2010. Seasonal carryover effects following administration of cortisol to a wild teleost fish. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 83, 950-957.


Kobler A., T. Klefoth, T. Mehner, R. Arlinghaus. 2009. Co-existence of behavioural types in an aquatic top predator: a response to resource limitation? Oecologia, 161, 837-847.


Klefoth, T., C. Skov, J. Krause, R. Arlinghaus. 2012. The role of ecological context and predation risk-stimuli in revealing the true picture about the genetic basis of boldness evolution in fish. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66:547-559.


Kobler A., T. Klefoth, R. Arlinghaus. 2008. Site fidelity and seasonal changes in activity centre size of female pike (Esox lucius) in a small lake. Journal of Fish Biology, 73, 584-596.



Recruitment, individual reproductive success and the value of large megaspawners

We use experiments and observational data to study individual reproductive success and emphasize on the often-overlooked importance of large fish for recruitment dynamics.


Representative publications:

Uusi-Heikkilä, S., L. Böckenhoff, C. Wolter, R. Arlinghaus. 2012. Differential allocation by female zebrafish (Danio rerio) to different-sized males – an example in a fish species lacking parental care. PLoS One 7(10): e48317. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048317.


Uusi-Heikkilä, S., A. Kuparinen, C. Wolter, T. Meinelt, R. Arlinghaus. 2012. Paternal body size affects reproductive success in laboratory-held zebrafish (Danio rerio). Environmental Biology of Fishes 93:461-474.


Uusi-Heikkilä, S., C. Wolter, T. Meinelt, R. Arlinghaus. 2010. Size-dependent reproductive success of wild zebrafish Danio rerio in the laboratory. Journal of Fish Biology, 77, 552-569.


Arlinghaus, R., S. Matsumura, U. Dieckmann. 2010. The conservation and fishery benefits of protecting large pike (Esox lucius L.) by harvest regulations in recreational fishing. Biological Conservation, 143, 1444-1459.


Gwinn, D.C., Allen, M.S., Johnston, F.D., Brown, P., Todd, C.R., Arlinghaus, R. 2013. Rethinking length-based fisheries regulations: the value of protecting old and large fish with harvest slots. Fish and Fisheries, in press.