Date of Award
Master of Arts in Marine Affairs
The inshore shrimp fisheries along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico represent a significant portion of the total shrimp harvest in the Gulf. The shrimp harvest is allocated to the offshore and inshore fisheries through the use of season closures. In 1981, the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fisheries Management Council began implementing a policy known as the Texas Closure; a seasonal closure of the waters of the Federal Conservation Zone concurrent with the traditional season closure of the state waters of Texas. One impact of the Texas Closure on the offshore fishery has been fleet displacement from Texas to Louisiana waters. When offshore shrimpers were surveyed as to their perceptions of the Texas Closure, the most discontent was expressed among those shrimpers closest to the Texas/Louisiana border. This thesis examines the perceived impacts of the Texas Closure on the inshore shrimpers of the two bays closest to the Texas;Louisiana border: Galveston Bay, Texas and Calcasieu Lake, Louisiana to ensure that the Texas Closure has not had negative side effects on these user groups. Surveys were administered to shrimp captains in both regions to determine socio-demographic trends occurring in the fisheries and to assess the perceptions of the Texas state and federal closures. In-depth interviews were conducted as well with a variety of participants in various levels of the fishery. The model of human ecology is used to describe the study area and generate predictions of impacts. The results indicate that, for the post part the Calcasieu Lake shrimpers were much less opinionated about the Texas Closure than the Galveston Bay population. In addition, the perceptions of shrimpers in both regions towards the Texas state closure and Texas Closure were very consistent, suggesting that the two closures are perceived as one large closure. This suggests that the Texas Closure has had no additional impacts than the state closure already has. Those Galveston Bay shrimpers who had an opinion were equally divided between approving and disapproving of the Texas Closure. This difference was related to vessel size. Larger inshore boat captains felt personally impacted by the Texas Closure presumably because they have been able to shrimp just beyond the state territorial sea when the state closure was implemented prior to the implementation of the Texas Closure. These captains of larger boats tended to disapprove of the Texas Closure. The captains of small boats who had an opinion expressed support for the Texas Closure because it serves as a conservation measure which enables more shrimp to spawn before being harvested. Due to geographical limitations, fleet displacement was not perceived to personally impact the inshore shrimpers from either bay.
Garfield, Nina H., "Perceptions of the Texas State and Federal Closures Among Inshore Shrimpers in Galveston Bay, Texas and Calcasieu Lake, Louisiana" (1989). Theses and Major Papers. Paper 311.