Charter Fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast - DRAFT



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Texas A&M University Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (Recreation and Parks)


This study establishes the magnitude, role and economic importance of charter fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast. Data was collected to describe three major components of charter fishing: (1) the operator and his business activity, (2) the customers of the industry, and (3) the resulting economic impact attributable to the charter customers' expenditures. A total of 88 charter operators were identified as being in business in 1975. These operators were classified as being in one of five geographic locations: Freeport/Surfside, Port O'Conner, Rockport, Port Aransas, and South Padre/Port Mansfield. Study findings related to the operator make three major points. First, there is little organization of the industry in the private sector. Second, most of the operators are in business not for the money, but for the life style. Finally, versatility is a key to a more profitable operation. Information is provided about charter customers as a useful input to local and regional decision makers and also to clarify some of the issues involved in defining a "Total" fishing experience. Profiles of Texas charter fishermen were compiled, and these included: (1) the socio-demographic characteristics of place of residence, age, income and occupation of charter fishermen, (2) their participation in charter fishing, (3) reasons for participating in charter fishing, and (4) opinions fishermen have about their charter fishing experiences. Thirteen motives, indicative of some of the reasons why fishermen go charter fishing, were identified using factor analysis. These motives were: (1) FISHING CHALLENGE, (2) ESCAPE, (3) STATUS ACHIEVEMENT, (4) OUTDOOR COASTAL EXPERIENCE, (5) CATCH FISH, (6) PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT, (7) AFFILIATION, (8) ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE, (9) LEARNING ABOUT NATURE, (10) EAT FISH, (11) ESTABLISH/MAINTAIN BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS, (12) HAVE FUN, and (13) CONVENIENCE IN FISHING. By arranging the identified motives according to their mean importance, it is apparent that fishermen consider many elements of their experience important in addition to catching fish. Charter fishermen spent approximately $4,208, 932.15 in coastal communities while charter fishing in 1976. This resulted in a total impact on the State of Texas of $13,766,740.70. The charter fishing industry is supported by approximately 10,776 charter fishermen who each spent about $390.53 in 1976 while pursuing the sport. This report concludes with a discussion of study findings, and implications and directions for future research are suggested. Charter fishermen, as identified, are one important constituency to which the goals of fisheries management must be addressed. Descriptions of fishermen are useful for predicting the type of people who are most likely to utilize a particular area of the coast. The identification of the interests involved and the impact each has on the resource to be managed, can enable management and regulatory decision making to evaluate the best direction for policy. The financial findings showed that the most profitable charter operators were the more flexible operators who took out both bay and Gulf charter trips. Further testing, verification and refinement of the conceptual foundations presented are suggested for further research. A longitudinal extension of the work reported would allow researchers to monitor how the various aspects of the charter fishing experience change over time. A final suggestion for further research is that this research design needs to be applied in other coastal locations and with other fishing subgroups so that broader generalizations among various fishing populations can be made.


186 pages


sport fishing, offshore fishing, charter boat fishing