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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Agency Approaches to Management of Public Alligator Harvest Programs in the Species’ Eastern Range

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Tara Gancos Crawford, Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Georgia; Clinton T. Moore, U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Georgia; Greg Balkcom, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Arnold M. Brunell, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Kristina J. Brunjes, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Joseph W. Butfiloski, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources; Cameron Carter, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Harry Dutton, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Nik Heynen, University of Georgia; Chris Nix, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Richard Tharp, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Greg Waters, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Allan Woodward, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

State wildlife management agencies strive to satisfy varied and sometimes competing stakeholder interests by providing consumptive and non-consumptive recreational opportunities, reducing human-wildlife conflicts, and maintaining wildlife populations in perpetuity for ecological benefits. Alligator management provides examples of the issues managers face when pursuing optimal policies to achieve these objectives in balance. Although alligators are distinctive among the suite of traditional game species, uncertainties that undermine management decisions – including those related to species’ life history, responses to management, and quality of monitoring data – are characteristic of the challenges facing all wildlife managers. As an initial step towards establishing a structured decision making process that can account for these issues in policy-making in the eastern portion of the species’ range, we investigated the diversity of policies employed by public alligator harvest management programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. We describe commonalities and distinctions among regulations and approaches adopted by these programs, and highlight the consequences and opportunities that emerge from the socio-ecological contexts in which these programs operate. This work serves as the foundation for an emerging adaptive harvest management framework that can govern recurrent policy decisions for multi-objective public alligator harvest programs across this landscape. A prototype framework will be tailored to the unique regulatory context in which each program operates, but will capitalize on the collective expertise and data that exist among the collaborating agencies. This effort will provide an informative case study for evaluating proposed decision-support tools and approaches that may be applied for other species.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 8:40am - 9:00am EST
Ballroom Salon B

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