The North Carolina Charter Boat Fishery Changing With the Times: a Comparative Analysis of the Catch Composition (1978 and 2007-2008)

nc-commercial-fisheries-fisheries-magazine-articleABSTRACT: The North Carolina charter boat fishery was surveyed in 1978  and provided a comprehensive assessment of the species catch composition and economic impacts. This fishery was surveyed again in 2007–2008 to provide a more recent representation of the effects and impacts on tourism and coastal fish populations. We analyzed and compared the species catch composition, type of fishing trips (inshore vs. offshore), and anglers’ residency (in state vs. out of state) between these two surveys. Overall, in 2007–2008 the northern district was mainly characterized by offshore fishing trips by out-of-state anglers during summer and fall months, whereas the central and southern districts were primarily characterized by in-state anglers making inshore (southern district) and offshore (central district) trips occurring mainly during summer (southern district) and fall (central district). Since 1978, the fishery in the northern and central districts has expanded further offshore, mainly targeting larger pelagic species. The fishing effort in the southern district, although expanding further offshore, has concentrated on reef species and on coastal pelagic as secondary target species. Larger, technologically more advanced boats may explain the observed patterns. This result may also be attributed to the adoption of species-specific fishing regulations after 1978.

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