An assessment of sector separation on the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishery
In recreational fisheries with large angler populations, monitoring catch overages is a challenge faced by fisheries managers. A possible solution to this issue is sector separation, which would split the recreational fishery into two angler groups: for-hire (made up of charter boats and headboats) and private. This division would allow the two sectors to have individual Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and tailored management. This paper uses the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishery as a case study to examine the impacts of sector separation. Because for-hire anglers can already be regulated and catch limits for private anglers remain hard to enforce, sector separation will have minimal effects on the biology of the red snapper fishery. Economic changes under sector separation are driven by management decisions regarding allocation and by the reality of overage liability. Depending on the ACL allocations and which sector is landing the overages, the for-hire sector can see economic gains with the implementation of sector separation.