The Impact of United States Recreational Fisheries on Marine Fish Populations

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Science  24 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5692, pp. 1958-1960
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100397

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We evaluated the commercial and recreational fishery landings over the past 22 years, first at the national level, then for populations of concern (those that are overfished or experiencing overfishing), and finally by region. Recreational landings in 2002 account for 4% of total marine fish landed in the United States. With large industrial fisheries excluded (e.g., menhaden and pollock), the recreational component rises to 10%. Among populations of concern, recreational landings in 2002 account for 23% of the total nationwide, rising to 38% in the South Atlantic and 64% in the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, it affects many of the most-valued overfished species—including red drum, bocaccio, and red snapper—all of which are taken primarily in the recreational fishery.

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