More than 2,000 licensed charter boat captains in the Gulf of Mexico will have the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Recreation For-Hire Economic Survey (RFHES), which will be held in mid-April.
The RFHES is conducted once every 10 years to gauge the economic health and policy concerns of the charter fishing sector in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Florida). This year, participants will be offered payment in exchange for their cooperation.
“The recreational-for-hire industry is one of the most important sectors of our coastal economy, but they are also one of the most heavily surveyed groups,” said Rex Caffey, project leader and professor of natural resource economics at Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter. “We recognize that our respondents’ time is valuable, so we’re glad to have cooperative research funds available for those captains who elect to participate in this study.”
Payments for the voluntary survey will depend on availability of funding by state. Information collected from the project will be used to construct a baseline assessment of the financial health and economic impact of the RFH industry. Future researchers and policy-makers will have access to this data for determining the economic effects of other external forces, such as economic downturns, fuel prices, policy changes and natural disasters.
Earlier versions of the survey were conducted by Texas A&M University in 1989 and by the University of Florida in 1999. The 2009 survey – which will be distributed April 16 – is being coordinated by Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy, and is supported by federal fisheries research funding provided via the National Sea Grant College Program and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.