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Assessing the impact of commercial versus recreational marine fisheries catch: The importance of who, when, and where.
Crowder, Larry1, Figueira, Will*,1, Coleman, Felicia2, 1 Duke University Marine Lab, Beaufort, NC, USA2 Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA
ABSTRACT- Many of the federally managed marine fish stocks are considered to be either "fully-" or "over exploited". The blame for this has typically fallen on commercial fisheries due to the perceived industrial nature of their activities and the notion that with such limited catch, recreational fishing simply cannot compare to the commercial catch. In fact, for all marine finfish fisheries in the United States, the recreational take is certainly quite low, on the order of 2 to 5%. However fisheries are not managed as one lump unit but rather on a species by species or stock by stock basis. When viewed on this level, there can be dramatic differences in the impact of commercial versus recreational fishing. In this study we use data from the National Marine Fisheries Service on commercial and recreational catch of marine finfish stratified by fishery, fishing mode, and time to analyze the relative impacts of the two fishing types on the scale relevant to management--that of individual species. Results for specific species are discussed individually; however, in general we found that conclusions about the relative impacts of commercial versus recreational fishing were in fact species specific and temporal analysis allowed us to look at these changes over time. Such information is very valuable for making decisions on how to best protect our marine resources and makes especially clear the need to consider management options on either commercial or recreational fishers on a fishery by fishery bases rather than attempting to establish any blanket policy adressing who deserves regulation and who does not.
Key words: management, recreational fishing, marine fisheries, catch data