Saltwater sportfishing for food or income in the Northeastern US:Statistical estimates and policy implications

Steinback, S., Wallmo, K. and Clay, P.
Marine Policy, 33, 49-57

In the Northeast US fishery managers have attempted to control marine recreational fishing mortality through annual adjustments to the number and/or size of fish that can be kept. These measures, with a few exceptions, have generally failed to prevent recreational fishing mortality rates from exceeding annual target levels. In this study, we show that one of the reasons why keep limits may have failed is that a substantial number of anglers obtain little value from being able to keep self-caught fish. Our findings are based on a telephone survey administered to marine anglers in all of the coastal counties in the Northeast US in 2004/2005. To evaluate the importance of keeping self-caught fish, we provide estimates of the size of the marine angling population in the Northeast US that keeps fish for food or income and also for those that fish primarily for recreation and place little or no value on keeping fish. Demographic characteristics of the two groups of anglers are compared statistically and differences related to consumption of self-caught marine resources and to health warning advisories are discussed. We also estimate the size of the Northeast US angling population that relies on their self-caught marine resources as a cost-saving food source or as a supplement to household income. This information could improve the effectiveness of fisheries regulations and the ability of policy analysts to predict how anglers might be affected by proposed fishery management actions.


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