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Publication Date

2014-07-25

Availability

UM campus only

Embargo Period

2014-07-25

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense

2014-06-24

First Committee Member

Daniel Suman

Second Committee Member

Joseph E. Serafy

Third Committee Member

Maria Estevanez

Fourth Committee Member

Manoj Shivlani

Abstract

Despite uncertainties surrounding the protected Atlantic goliath grouper’s stock size and resilience, fishery managers are under pressure to end the harvest moratorium in place since 1990. The present study sought to measure the proportion of anglers interested in reopening the goliath grouper fishery and to identify key reasons for this interest. We also present an estimate of the amount that anglers would be willing to pay for a goliath grouper harvest tag. A survey was mailed to a random sample of Florida (USA) residents with a recreational fishing license. Approximately half of the respondents agreed that the goliath grouper should now be open to recreational take. A probit analysis indicated that the best predictor for the opinion the fishery should be open is the belief that there are “too many goliath grouper.” Also, more anglers agreed than disagreed that goliath grouper are eating “all the fish on the reef,” a belief that was related to anglers personally experiencing goliath grouper depredation. The mean willingness to pay for a goliath grouper harvest tag was estimated to be between $34 and $79. This information can be used to estimate the potential revenues available from a hypothetical tag system and can be compared with the economic value of goliath grouper in non-consumptive uses such as recreational diving.

Keywords

Epinephelus itajara; fishery management; mail survey; angler motivations; willingness to pay

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