Three innovative approaches to bag and size limits were evaluated in the recreational summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus fishery. Each approach was designed to reduce discard mortality while increasing angler satisfaction, yet still limiting recreational take within management goals. Each was compared to the 2006 legal bag and size limits on party boat trips from New Jersey and New York. Angler-specific catch data were collected during the trips, and anglers completed a questionnaire while sailing back to port. Comparison of questionnaires to observer records revealed that anglers could not accurately recall the number of fish kept or released. Anglers overestimated both kept and discarded fish by a factor of about two. Neither fishing scenario, age, sex, nor years fished significantly influenced the accuracy of survey reports of kept fish. Anglers on three of five boats over-reported landings. Reported landings were nearly accurate on two boats. Survey accuracy for reported discards was influenced by bag-and-size-limit scenario and differed among boats, sexes, and fishing experience, but no predictable pattern was evident. In particular, bias in reporting was unrelated to angler sex, age, experience, and performance on observed trips or any other criterion measured in this study. Anglers preferred the slot limit most and the 2006 legal bag and size limit least. High grading and transfer of fish among anglers were rare occurrences. Our study demonstrated that the summer flounder fishery is a consumptive fishery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science
- Angler recall
- Bag and size limits
- Summer flounder