Summary of economic data collected by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Headboat Logbooks: 2015
DAVID W. CARTER and CHRISTOPHER LIESE
Large for-hire fishing vessels, called headboats or partyboats, play an important role in the southeast region’s recreational fishieries. Headboats provide an affordable way for individual, often unscheduled, customers to participate in a half or full day (or longer) of bottom or drift fishing. The customer is typically charged $40 to $100 for a fishing trip that includes the gear, bait, and fishing instructions. The Beaufort Laboratory of NOAA Fisheries has been collecting catch and effort data from headboat vessels with a logbook system (Southeast Region Headboat Survey) since 1972 along the southeast coast of the U.S. (hereafter South Atlantic) and since 1986 along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In 2014, shortly after moving to an electronic reporting platform, four questions related to economics were added to the logbook. For each trip, the new questions asked about the number of crew, the number of non-fishing passengers, the gallons of fuel used, and the price paid per gallon of fuel. This report summarizes the data collected from vessels during 2015. Vessel information from the permit records maintained by the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office (SERO) was added to the dataset.