More than 11,000 fish were reported landed by the 127 boat fishers who participated in the survey. <em>*Photo by James Whittaker</em><br />
More than 11,000 fish were reported landed by the 127 boat fishers who participated in the survey. *Photo by James Whittaker

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22: The island’s recreational boat fishers could land as many as 55,000 fish a year, according the latest data.

The 2011 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Bermuda revealed that whitewater snappers are the most commonly targeted species.

Fisheries officers sent out questionnaires to 2,876 islanders who owned private motorized boats longer than 14ft last October, asking them how often they fished and what species they caught.

They received responses from just fewer than 20 per cent of those questioned.

Joanna Pitt, marine resources officer for the Department of Fisheries, said: “This is a very good rate of return, as most similar surveys consider a return rate of 5 per cent as adequate for proceeding with analysis.

“Of the respondents to the mail survey, 182, or 35 per cent said that they had fished within the past year.

“And they said they spent a total of 2,564 days fishing between them.”

The survey indicated that 74 per cent of boat fishers were Bermudian, while nearly a third worked in management positions.

Ms Pitt added: “Whitewater snappers were the most commonly targeted species, followed by wahoo, yellowfin tuna and then bonita.

“Amberjack, grey snapper, yellowtail snapper, triggerfish or turbot, coney, hind and hogfish were also popular target species.”

The results showed that more than 11,000 fish were reported landed by the 127 fishers who provided answers on the size and nature of their annual catch.

Their 11,137 fish would weigh at least 30,500 lbs.

The boat fishers said they caught more than 3,200 white-water snappers, 405 wahoo and 477 yellowfin tuna in the last year.

Ms Pitt said: “If the respondents to the mail survey were representative of all boat owners, these data could be extrapolated to suggest that approximately 850 to 1,000 boat owners utilize their vessels for fishing or at least fish in some form, landing up to 55,000 individual fishes in a typical year.”

Special report: 2011 Survey of Recreational Fishing Activity in Bermuda

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