Environmental and Human Factors Affecting the Population Biology of Nova Scotia Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
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The objective of this study was to examine the potential role that several factors may play in influencing trout population biology. Specifically, I examined the associations between environmental (lake size, pH) or human factors (lake accessibility, proxy of fishing activity (mean vessel (boat and canoe) presence and proportion of total observed anglers) and trout population biology (catch per unit effort (CPUE, a proxy for trout abundance), trout length, and trout age). I hypothesized that there would be negative associations between lake access difficulty and measures of fishing activity (mean vessel presence and the proportion of total observed anglers). For example, as lake access difficulty increased, proxies of fishing activity would decrease. I hypothesized that there would be positive associations between lake accessibility and measures of trout population biology. For example, as lake access difficulty increased so would factors of trout population biology (CPUE, age, and length).Similarly, positive associations were expected between pH and measures of brook trout population biology. For example, as pH increased toward neutral conditions (better trout habitat), it was expected that factors of trout population biology (CPUE, age, and length) would also increase. The results generated by this research will facilitate appropriate management decisions regarding the issues of accessibility, pH, fishing activity, and sustainable fisheries in TGLWA. This information may also have broad implications for fisheries management, both in Nova Scotia and elsewhere in North America.