Virginia Institute of Marine Science
North American Journal of Fisheries Managemetn
The Atlantic Blueﬁn Tuna Thunnus thynnus is the target of a recreational ﬁshery along the U.S. East Coast that is thought to be of considerable economic value. In some years, recreational landings have exceeded the sector’s annual subquota due to changes in ﬁsh availability, limited predictability of angler effort, and difﬁculties in realtime monitoring of catch. Understanding the drivers of angler behavior is critical for predicting how effort and harvest may vary as a function of changing ﬁsh availability, regulations, or costs. To investigate angler decision making, preferences, and values, we surveyed private recreational anglers from Maine to North Carolina and employed discrete choice experiments to determine how regulatory and nonregulatory trip-speciﬁc variables inﬂuence trip-taking behavior. A latent class-ranked log it model identiﬁed two distinct classes of anglers who exhibited differing preferences in regard to the importance of nonconsumptive aspects of Blueﬁn Tuna ﬁshing (e.g., catch and release). Income and recent Blueﬁn Tuna targeting were the primary determinants of class membership, and higher-income anglers who had targeted Blueﬁn Tuna in the past 5 years were signiﬁcantly more likely to be in the class that derives substantive beneﬁts from nonconsumptive angling activities. An annual consumer surplus exceeding US$14 million was estimated for the 2015 ﬁshery. We considered potential angler welfare impacts of possible management changes (compensating surplus) and identiﬁed a large amount of latent effort currently present in the ﬁshery in the form of consumptive-oriented anglers. As a result, liberalization of harvest regulations could potentially lead to a large inﬂux of effort into the ﬁshery, which could impede the ability of managers to maintain harvest levels within prescribed limits.
Goldsmith, William Morris; Scheld, Andrew M.; and Graves, John, Characterizing the Preferences and Values of US Recreational Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Anglers (2018). North American Journal of Fisheries Managemetn, 38, 680-697.