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Lower possession limits and shorter seasons directly reduce for-hire fishing effort in a multispecies marine recreational fishery

Publication: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
26 January 2022


Managers of recreational fisheries often rely on implicit and rarely tested assumptions regarding how fishing effort will change in response to regulations. For instance, they assume that reduced seasons will directly reduce fishing effort without producing angler behavioral adaptations to maintain fishing opportunities and harvest. Vessel trip reports from a multispecies for-hire fishery in New Jersey, USA, allowed us to empirically evaluate changes in fishing effort as overlapping seasons for four species became shorter and as possession limits decreased. We conducted focus groups with fishery stakeholders and then developed statistical models to evaluate hypotheses describing how anglers aboard for-hire vessels adapted to regulations. Fishing effort aboard charter boats remained consistent and primarily responded to the availability of “something” to harvest, suggesting that their customers are willing to substitute target species. Party boat anglers, in contrast, responded to the possession limits of black sea bass (Centropristis striata) and summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). Because party anglers were less willing to substitute target species, party vessel operators are likely particularly vulnerable to reductions in fishing opportunity and harvest potential.


Les gestionnaires de pêches sportives emploient souvent des hypothèses implicites et rarement validées concernant l’incidence sur l’effort de pêche des réactions à la réglementation. Par exemple, ils postulent souvent que des saisons écourtées réduisent directement l’effort de pêche sans entraîner d’adaptations du comportement des pêcheurs visant à maintenir les occasions de pêche et les prises. Les rapports de sortie d’embarcation pour une pêche multiespèce à forfait au New Jersey (États-Unis) ont permis une évaluation empirique des variations de l’effort de pêche au fil du raccourcissement des saisons de pêche de quatre espèces qui se chevauchent et de la réduction des limites de possession. Nous avons organisé des groupes de discussion avec des parties prenantes à cette pêche, puis élaboré des modèles statistiques pour évaluer différentes hypothèses qui décrivent comment les pêcheurs à bord d’embarcations de pêche à forfait s’adaptent à la réglementation. L’effort de pêche à bord de navires nolisés est demeuré uniforme, s’ajustant principalement à la disponibilité de « quelque chose » à pêcher, ce qui indiquerait que leurs clients sont disposés à changer d’espèces cibles. Les pêcheurs dans des navires de groupe ont pour leur part réagi aux limites de possession de bars noirs (Centropristis striata) et de cardeaux d’été (Paralichthys dentatus). Comme les pêcheurs de navires de groupe sont moins disposés à changer d’espèces cibles, il est probable que les exploitants de tels navires sont particulièrement vulnérables aux baisses des occasions de pêche et du potentiel de prise. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

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cover image Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume 79Number 8August 2022
Pages: 1211 - 1224


Received: 25 May 2021
Accepted: 12 January 2022
Accepted manuscript online: 26 January 2022
Version of record online: 26 January 2022


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Ashley Trudeau* [email protected]
Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., USA.
Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., USA.
Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., USA.
Eleanor A. Bochenek
Fisheries Cooperative Center, Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Rutgers University, Cape May, N.J., USA.
Abigail S. Golden
Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., USA.
Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., USA.
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA.
Michael C. Melnychuk
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA.
Douglas R. Zemeckis
Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., USA.
Olaf P. Jensen*
Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., USA.
Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., USA.


Present address: Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., USA.
Present address: School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA.

Funding Information

This publication is the result of work sponsored by New Jersey Sea Grant with funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Sea Grant, US Department of Commerce, under NOAA grant No. NA10OAR4170085 and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, NJSG-21-977. ASG is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. NSF DGE-1842213.

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