Estimates of Economic Contributions and Fishing Effort for Commercial and For-Hire Recreational Fisheries in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
This report has been developed for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to support its condition report and management plan review. Commercial and recreational fisheries profiles and economic contributions from the sanctuary were identified as a critical data gap and a priority need in the characterization of the site during the condition report process. This report analyzes fishing effort and the economic contributions of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary commercial and recreational fisheries to local and regional economies and to the livelihoods of those who depend on sanctuary fish resources from 2007 to 2016.
The results presented here support an evaluation of the status and trends of fishery-related ecosystem services in the sanctuary condition report. These results will help inform a subsequent management plan review. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people derive from the environment. The ecosystem services evaluated in this report include food supply, and consumptive recreation. Data from commercial fishing were used primarily to evaluate the status and trends of food supply. Data from for-hire charter and party boats were used primarily to evaluate the status and trends of consumptive recreation. Some information on private recreational fishing is presented in this report for 2009, but data on private recreational fishing is the sanctuary and surrounding areas are limited.
Many different activities and uses take place across Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the larger National Marine Sanctuary System. Profiles for commercial and recreational fishing were developed to evaluate fishing effort and economic contributions. These profiles were then peer-reviewed and presented in this report to provide data and information to sanctuary management, partners, and stakeholders. For commercial fisheries, profiles include: ex-vessel landings measured by pounds and value (also referred to as harvest revenue), the number of vessels, the species caught, the state in which landings occurred, and the gear types used. For the for-hire recreational fisheries, profiles include: the number of vessels, the number of trips, the number of person-days, the landing state, the top species, and the quantity of species caught. Profiles varied across sites and uses based upon the availability of data.
A special analysis was conducted to determine the fishing effort and economic contributions of the overlap of the Western Gulf of Maine Closure Area with the sanctuary. This overlap area, which makes up 22% of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, is called the sliver. The sliver (and the Western Gulf of Maine Closure Area) has been closed year-round, to bottom tending commercial gear since 1998. This area may serve as a replenishment area for ground fish and other fish species. Charter boats, party boats, and recreational vessels are able to fish in the Western Gulf of Maine Closure Area. Analyzing this closed area provides insight into the increased economic output of for-hire party and charter fishing that rely on this area as a refuge from commercial bottom-tending mobile-gear fishing. More information on the data used, methodologies, special analyses, and other findings are presented in the full report.
The original report, published in January 2020, includes landings from federal vessel trip report (VTR) data, which exclude lobster landings from those who only hold state permits and do not hold permits for federally managed species. A report addendum was published in April 2021 to provide additional landings data that include both state and VTR sources.