A State-Managed Program for Conducting Interviews with Commercial Fishermen



North Carolina has an ongoing program to collect social and economic data from commercial fishermen. The data are used to inform fisheries managers regarding potential human impacts of proposed regulations. Federal and state law requires consideration of available social and economic data whenever fisheries management decisions are made. This article describes the methods and techniques used by researchers at a state level to collect data relevant to state and federally managed fisheries. Baseline data collection occurred between 1999 and 2003. Longitudinal follow up data collection began in 2004. Both qualitative and quantitative data are collected from individual fishermen. Data elements include individual sociodemographics, characteristics of their fishing business, dependence on fishing, attitudes regarding fisheries management, user group conflicts, and perceptions of the fishing industry. Benefits and difficulties associated with maintaining a state-level program are discussed.