Understanding Catch-and-Release Behavior among U.S. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Anglers
S. G. Sutton and R. B. Ditton
With the increased popularity of catch-and-release angling, there is a growing need to better understand the social, psychological, and demographic characteristics of anglers who chose to participate in this type of fishing. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between catch-and-release participation by bluefin tuna anglers and two sub-dimensions of specialization hypothesized to explain catch-and-release behavior among marine anglers: commitment to angling, and consumptive orientation. We also investigate the relationship between catch-and-release behavior and a number of demographic variables (gender, age, income, and years of education) and situational variables (angling party size, hours fished, number of tuna caught, and whether another species of tuna was retained) thought to influence an angler’s decision to practice catch and release. Data are from a survey of Atlantic bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus anglers fishing off the coast of Hatteras, North Carolina, in 1997 (Ditton et al. 1998). Catch-and-release behavior was measured by a dichotomous variable that indicated whether a bluefin tuna had been retained by the angler’s fishing party on the day it was sampled.