Characteristics and trends in the nighttime and daytime United States Atlantic recreational swordfish fishery based on fishery-dependent data
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Characteristics and trends in the nighttime and daytime United States Atlantic recreational swordfish fishery based on fishery-dependent data

  • Published Date:

    2017

  • Source:
    Bulletin of Marine Science 93(2):539-555, 2017
Filetype[PDF-1.88 MB]


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  • Description:
    Over the past two decades, the United States' recreational fishery for North Atlantic swordfish, Xiphias gladius Linnaeus, 1758, has grown along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Successful management and high recruitment during an historical period of low biomass contributed to rebuilding the North Atlantic swordfish stock, leading to sustainable harvest opportunities. Over time, fisheries have shifted fishing gears and techniques to increase access to swordfish, a crepuscular fish that occupies deep waters during the day and ascends to shallower depths at night. Particularly among recreational anglers, a decline in drift (surface) fishing and popularization of the deep-drop technique shifted much of the fishing activity from night to day. Private angler and for-hire (charter) self-reported data on swordfish landings (retained catch) from 2003 to 2014 illustrated this shift in recreational fishing, including trip, technique, and catch characteristics. The majority of the landings occurred off southeast Florida (88%), where 70% of the swordfish were caught on private trips. The shift in technique was observed in reports from 2008 to 2014, which revealed a nearly synchronous 40% increase in deep-drop fishing and decrease in drift fishing, shifting the peak hookup (bite) times from 21:00–23:00 to 10:00–13:00 hrs. The average size of drift- and deep-drop caught swordfish increased; however, deep-drop caught swordfish were, on average, larger than those caught while drift fishing. These summaries reflect a modern characterization of this fishery and potential areas of improvement to this data collection.
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