Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

11-16-2011

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

David W. Kerstetter

Second Advisor

Richard E. Spieler

Third Advisor

Rex Caffey

Abstract

Highly migratory species (HMS) are targeted in numerous recreational fishing tournaments in the Florida Straits and very important to the total directed fisheries for these species. Sailfish Istiophorus platypterus and wahoo Acanthocybium solandri are primary coastal pelagic fish species, found in similar shelf-edge habitats, targeted in these recreational tournaments. The economic importance of these tournaments is unknown, as is the probable overlap between tournament fisheries by anglers targeting this species.

A voluntary mail survey was administered to two sailfish tournaments and one wahoo tournament within the Florida Straits during the 2009/2010 season. Questions were organized into four sections: general fishing activity and experience, tournament experience, fishing techniques, and personal angler characteristics. Response rates for the participating tournament were as follows: Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament (SSCLT), 23.3%, Silver Sailfish Derby (SSD) 44.2%, and Bahamas Wahoo Championship (BWC) 33.0%. All participating tournaments represented an overwhelmingly male population (SSCLT 92.9%; SSD 94.7%, BWC 100%), the majority of which were residents of Florida. Sailfish was listed as the preferred target species for the participating sailfish tournament anglers with wahoo being listed as the preferred target species for wahoo tournament participants. All anglers in both sailfish tournaments responded yes to participation in the upcoming year’s tournament with only 50% of wahoo participants answering yes to this question for next year’s participation.

Average tournament expenditures and economic contributions were part of the results from this study. All tournaments showed highest expenditures under gas and oil for boats. The SSCLT tournaments average for oil and gas totaled $2,785.00 for the tournament, the highest of the three tournaments surveyed. Lodging was shown to be the least important of all categories with averages ranging between $325-$700 per tournament. The direct economic contribution from each tournament as whole to the local economy were as follows: SSD- $425,109; SSCLT- $866,189; Wahoo-$71,550. These numbers correspond to the total tournament participation numbers with the highest contribution and participation being the SSCLT tournament. Understanding angler preferences and expenditure patterns will help tournament directors and local fisheries management agencies better understand the economic importance and management implications in South Florida.

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