Monitoring the Socio-Economic Impacts of Federal....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA77FD0077         NMFS NUMBER:  96-SER-052

REPORT TITLE: Monitoring the Socio-Economic Impacts of Federal Regulations on Gulf of Mexico Commercial Shrimp Fishermen

AUTHOR: J. Stephen Thomas, G. David Johnson, and Cecelia M. Formichella

PUBLISH DATE:  November 7, 2000

AVAILABLE FROM: National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 9721 Executive Center Drive, St. Petersburg, FL 33702.  PHONE: (727) 570-5324


This study 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.

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