Alex Claus Winkler

AREA OF EXPERTISE: Understanding fish biological interactions with their environment and how we as marine resource users influence this interaction and exploring how human recreational activities are affecting fish populations and how this can be effectively managed.

AFFILIATION: Rhodes University (South Africa) Honorary Research Associate / SAIAB postdoctoral researcher 

My scientific expertise straddles between understanding fish biological interactions with their environment and how we as marine resource users influence this interaction. Moreover, my research through the hub has explored how human recreational activities are affecting fish populations and how this can be effectively managed. By installing pro-environmental behaviour through the use of soft management measures instead of relying on formal measures to change how we interact with the resources we utilise for recreational purposes.  

Impact

Drone fishing – a relatively recent innovation in which recreational anglers use personal drones to fly baited lines into otherwise inaccessible areas of water or perform reconnaissance for optimal fishing areas. In South Africa, Alexander Winkler and other Hub researchers at Rhodes University and colleagues from the University of Cape Town and the Oceanographic Research Institute conducted transdisciplinary research to shine a light on this practice, making an urgent call for increased research and management. After the publication of the researcher’s paper highlighting the specific risks of drone fishing in South Africa, the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) issued a public notice banning the practice of drone fishing in South African waters. Considering the timing of the notice and our researchers’ relationships with the Department, our paper may have been an impetus for this action. – read more here >>

Shark_on_beach_killed_drone_effects_Alex_Winkler_South_Africa
Large fish hooked hundreds of metres offshore are likely to experience extreme exhaustion and physiological disturbance and may be at greater risk of depredation (being consumed by other predators). Photo: ALEX WINKLER
Making waves

Alexander Winkler together with other Hub researchers organised a workshop at the World Fisheries Congress on Recreational Fisheries Governance in low-and-middle-income countries in Seattle (US) in March 2024. “It was a unique opportunity to attract and engage with participants from a global pool” Alexander says. To learn more on this blog post. – read here >>  

Alex wrote an article titled ‘Drone fishing in South Africa is a danger to sharks and may be unfair to other fishers – study’ on the Conversation. – read here >> 

Recent publication

Winkler, A.C., Butler, E.C., Attwood, C.G., Mann, B.Q. and Potts, W.M., 2022. The emergence of marine recreational drone fishing: Regional trends and emerging concerns. Ambio, 51(3), pp.638-651- read here >>