NMFS NUMBER: 96-SER-052
the Socio-Economic Impacts of Federal Regulations on Gulf
of Mexico Commercial Shrimp Fishermen
Thomas, G. David Johnson, and Cecelia M. Formichella
Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 9721
Executive Center Drive, St. Petersburg, FL 33702.
PHONE: (727) 570-5324
was designed to document the effects that bycatch reduction
devices (BRDs) have had on shrimp fishermen. The investigators'
previous research on shrimp fishermen in 1987 and 1994
provided baseline data that allowed the effects of bycatch
devices to be measured. This project compared findings
from four samples of "nearshore" and "offshore"
shrimp boat captains: Alabama 1987 (n=90), Alabama 1994
(n=80), Gulf of Mexico 1994 (n=390), and Alabama 1999
(n=90). The dimensions evaluated consisted of objective
criteria including a demographic profile of fishermen
and their current economic conditions measured from past
to present. A number of subjective criteria also were
evaluated, including occupational stressors or job demands,
current levels of job satisfaction, and attitudes toward
and experiences with BRDs. In addition, this project assessed
the current psychological state of fishermen and their
own perceptions about the communities in which they live.
This study found that captains are spending more days
at sea and that their maintenance costs have increased.
Consistent with these findings is the fact that the extrinsic
value captains derive from fishing has declined. Therefore,
the investigators expect that fewer individuals will seek
out fishing as a labor niche and that attrition from the
industry will likely continue given the captains' age
composition and length of time captains have fished. It
would appear that those persisting in the industry are
becoming more efficient in their fishing efforts. Encouragingly,
fishermen in this study's sample are significantly more
optimistic about their future as fishermen than they were
five years ago.