Study to define demographics, economics, and environmental awareness of charter anglers in Galveston, Texas
Cummins, Rhonda D.
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A survey questionnaire, following recommendations made by Jenkins and Dillman (1997) and approved by the Institutional Review Board in College Station, was designed to describe demographics of charter anglers in Galveston, Texas and to assess their environmental awareness. The anglers were described by age, gender, place of residence, and species preference to reflect past studies and provide consistency of data. Economic impacts on the local economy were estimated using the number of anglers that spent at least one night in a Galveston hotel, charter fees, and a daily average for food/beverage expenditures made during their stay. Environmental awareness was established by asking whether anglers noticed the presence of marine debris, whether they were aware of the existence of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS), and whether marine sanctuaries were a valuable management tool. The questionnaire was administered to anglers that fished from the charter boat Freedom during its fifty-four charter trips in the months of June through August 2007. The response rate to the survey was 93.8% (N=213 respondents). The majority (81.7%) of those surveyed was male, 86.8% were between 20-60 years old, and 86% resided in Texas. The sub-population of charter anglers was defined as infrequent (68.5 %), without species preference (70.8 %), did not own their own boat (75%) and did not belong to a fishing, hunting, or conservation organization (79.8%). The economic impact was approximately $400 per person per day. This first step in assessing environmental awareness resulted in these findings: approximately 14% of the anglers noticed dead fish; 7% noticed dead birds; and 54.5% noticed man-made trash during their charter. Thirty-eight anglers (17.8%) responded that they were familiar with the FGBNMS; yet in general, nearly 81% indicated a perceived value in sanctuaries as a management tool. Future studies are needed to fully assess environmental awareness of anglers and their knowledge of other management programs. This is particularly important with the expansion of programs such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department?s artificial reef program.