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Ohio's 2010 Lake Erie Charter Fishing Industry

Lucente, Joseph E., Gabriel, Tory, Davis, Gregory, Wellington, Colleen, Lichtkoppler, Frank
Fisheries 2012 v.37 no.12 pp. 532-541
boats, fish industry, game fish, income, invasive species, issues and policy, natural resources, operating costs, sport fishing, surveys, Lake Erie, Ohio
Charter fishing provides important angler access to Lake Erie sport fishing. It is economically important to local harbor communities, with 79% of charter anglers coming from over 50 miles away. To update information from our 2006 survey, we conducted a mail survey of 500 randomly selected Ohio charter boat captains in early 2010 and received usable information from 239 captains. In 2010 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources licensed 786 charter guides compared to 783 licensed captains in 2006. Possibly reflecting difficult economic times, charter firms in 2010 made on average 10.1 fewer trips per firm (34.6) than in 2006 (44.7). These captains made an estimated 21,082 charter trips in 2010, of which over 81% were full-day and almost 19% were half-day trips. Mean total revenues earned in 2010 ($15,132 ± $16,110) declined over 13% from 2006. Declining harvests, invasive species, and increasing operating costs highlight the concerns noted by captains responding to the survey. Policies and actions to address declining sport fish populations, invasive species, and other key issues may have positive impacts on the industry and help it continue into the future.