Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


As the abundance of fish stocks in the Northeast continues to decline, the need to regulate the marine recreational catch is a topic receiving much attention. Yet, the move to manage recreational anglers' fishing activities raises a host of new questions. How should the resource be allocated among different groups of fishermen? Which group should take precedence over others; or should resources be divided equally among all? To manage the Massachusetts recreational fishery, many of these questions will have to be answered to ensure the success of conservation goals. With a comprehensive understanding of anglers and their relationship to fishery resources (i.e. is it consumptive or experiential, competition or socially based), it may be possible to regulate the fishery with the best interests of the species and the fishermen in mind. Therefore the research problem explored in this thesis was as follows: Not enough is known about the varying degrees of recreation specialization displayed by Massachusetts recreational fishermen to allow fishery managers to understand the variant characteristics of these divergent subgroups.