Trends in finfish landings by sport fishermen in Texas Marine waters, May 1974-May 1985
Since May 1974 private-boat fishermen have been routinely interviewed at boat-access sites. Party and headboat fishermen have been routinely monitored since May 1983 by on-site and on-board surveys. The total estimated sport-boat fishing pressure and landings of finfish in 1984-85 were 5,0480,500 man-h and 2,168,100 fish, respectively. From 1983-84 to 1984-85 pressure decreased 28% and landings decreased 37%. Sport-boat fishing in bays and passes accounted for 86% of the pressure and 74% of the landings in 1984-85. In the same year, private-boat fishermen exerted 87% of the pressure and landed 72% of the fish. The high-use season (15 May-20 November) accounted for 71% of the pressure and 78% of the 1984-85 landings. Forty percent of the 6-year mean annual coastwide private-boat bay and pass fishing pressure and 44% of the landing private-boat bay and pass fishing pressure and 44% of the landing occurred in the Galveston Bay system. Spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) comprised 37% of the 6-year mean annual coastwide private-boat bay and pass landings. Catch rates for spotted seatrout caught by private-boat fishermen declined 60% from 1983-84 to 1984-85. The routine sport-boat fishery monitoring program detected a reduction in some finfish landing following the coastwide fish kill in December 1983 and January 1984.