Robert Botta

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2017


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are marine or freshwater natural hazards. One HAB species, Karenia brevis, is known for its negative effects upon marine ecosystems and coastal communities in southwest Florida. K. brevis, also known as red tide, can kill marine life, contaminate shellfish beds, and create health concerns for humans. This HAB has direct and indirect effects upon coastal economies, tourism, and commercial and recreational fisheries. This project examines how severe red tide blooms and a one month lag effect of severe red tide blooms affect the number of recreational fishing trips and the average distance travelled to a fishing trip launch site. The analysis included every month from 2004 to 2016 in eight southwest Florida counties (Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Pinellas, Sarasota). Both the number of trips and the average distance traveled were found to be statistically significantly affected by the number of severe red tide days as well as the previous month’s severe red tide days, suggesting that red tide does influence recreational fishing effort and that there is a lag effect that influences effort. However, the models tested did not explain a large amount of variance caused by severe red tide days, suggesting that there are factors alongside red tide that cause change in recreational fishing habits. Future testing that include additional predictor variables (i.e. natural hazards, weather activity, fishing management changes, etc.) in the models is important to fully understand how recreational fishing habits are affected. With continued analysis of this data, it will be easier to estimate the economic costs of red tide for recreational fishermen.


Department: MES

MPS Track: FMC

Location: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Southeast Fisheries Science Center

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