Reporting time period matters: quantifying catch rates and exploring recall bias from fisher interviews in Thailand

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication: 2018

Authors:  Aylesworth, L., and Kuo, T-C.

Journal:  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Catch rates reported by fishers are commonly used to understand the status of a fishery, but the reliability of fisher reported data is affected by how they recall such information. Recalling catch may be influenced by the choice of reporting time period. Using interview data from fishers in Thailand, we investigated (1) how the time period for which fishers report their catch rates (e.g., per day or month) correlates with annual catch estimates, and (2) the potential of recall bias when fishers reported multiple catch rates. We found that the annual catch estimates of fishers who reported on a shorter time period (haul, day) were significantly higher than those who reported on a longer time period (month, year). This trend held true when fishers reported over multiple time periods, suggesting recall bias. By comparing fisher reports with external datasets, we identified that the mean across all reports was most similar to other data sources, rather than any time period. Our research has strong implications in using fishers’ knowledge for fisheries management.