Comparing landings of United States recreational fishery sectors
Recent research reveals that recreational fisheries are responsible for a significant share of the total marine finfish catch worldwide, especially for overfished stocks. In some cases, recreational fisheries are the primary pressure on fished stocks. Considerable interest rests in knowing which sector—the for-hire (i.e., charter boats and headboats), the private-boat, or shore-based fisheries—catches the most. The general impression in the United States is that the for-hire sector takes the majority of the recreational landings because of its greater professionalism and therefore more efficient fishing practices. Restriction of these fisheries, rather than private-boat or shore-based sectors, has therefore been suggested to be the most effective means of limiting recreational catch. Published data suggest otherwise, however, despite concerns about the unevenness of data quality. Using a 24-yr time series of landings data on marine fish from the United States marine recreational fishery database, we demonstrate that the majority of recreational landings are taken by the private/rental-boat sector (65%), probably as a result of the sheer number of participants, whereas the for-hire sector takes 22% and the shore sector only 13%. The ability to assess the impacts of the private/rental-boat fisheries is limited chiefly by access to fishers for sampling, so better data are critically needed, in the form of survey access to recreational-fishing participants through licensing.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2010-07-01
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