Examining the Behavior, Management Preferences, and Sociodemographics of Artificial Reef Users in the Gulf of Mexico Offshore from Texas
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© American Fisheries Society 2016. Abstract: This study used a mixed-mode approach (mail and online) to survey licensed private boat owners (26 ft [8 m] and larger) from Texas on the use, choice and management of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) offshore from Texas. Results showed that reef users (n = 569) had a mean age of 55 years, were mostly white males, and over half of the respondents reported household incomes exceeding US$160,000 annually. The highest percentage of boat owners took one to five trips to the GOM in the last 12 months, enjoyed going to standing rigs and oil production structures, and preferred reefs to be over 30 mi (48.3 km) from shore. Fishing and the presence of fish were important factors for visiting artificial reefs. Boat owners believed artificial reefs bring tourism to local economies, provide new areas in which to recreate, and do not degrade the environment. In managing the reefs, boat owners would like to see more artificial reefs in the GOM and be able to place their own structures offshore in safe locations. Future research recommendations are suggested for filling the gaps in the human dimensions of artificial reefs focusing on other recreation groups, diverse users, communication, and education. Received August 14, 2015; accepted November 18, 2015 Published online March 30, 2016
author list (cited authors)
Schuett, M. A., Ding, C., Kyle, G., & Shively, J. D.