Economic Survey to Estimate Value of Bottomfish Fishing in Hawaii

A new study to estimate the value of bottomfish fishing in Hawaii has begun to inform management agencies by detailing the important economic contributions bottomfish fishing activities provide to the State of Hawaii and to establish a baseline for assessing economic impacts of future management plans, alternatives, and actions.

PIFSC economist Justin Hospital designed the survey, aided by comments from PIFSC colleagues, staff of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (HDAR), and members of the community. Data to be collected in the survey include: behavioral aspects of bottomfish fishing, fishing effort and market participation, fisher classification, crew characteristics, levels of investment, annual fixed costs, fishing trip costs, social and cultural motivations for bottomfish fishing, and basic demographics. In addition to collecting these basic data, the study is designed to understand attitudes and perceptions towards current management issues in the fishery (specifically total allowable catch management and catch shares) and elicit suggestions for future management.

Extensive pre-survey outreach was conducted to improve awareness of the survey and increase response rates. An introduction to the survey was included in the HDAR Bottomfish Newsletter in February 2010 and the March 2010 issue of Hawaii Fishing News. Additionally, Hospital attended boat club meetings and visited tackle shops and dealers/wholesalers on the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai to introduce the survey in person. He also distributed a one-page survey flier and posted the flier on the Hawaii bottomfish informational Web site.

The survey will be fielded with State of Hawaii Commercial Marine License (CML) holders who have reported catching bottomfish in recent years, as well as fishers who have purchased a Federal Non-Commercial Bottomfish Permit. This represents just over 1,000 Hawaii bottomfish fishers. Survey booklets were mailed in April 2010 with non-respondent follow-ups planned for the coming months.