Changes in Job Satisfaction Through Time in Two Major New England Fishing Ports

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Fishing communities in the U.S. have been the subject of great transformation due to changes in availability of resources and the implementation of different rules and regulations to manage the fisheries and conserve fish stocks. Job satisfaction has been widely regarded as an important component of well-being especially among fishermen because the occupation of fishing includes attributes of ‘adventure,’ ‘challenge,’ and ‘being outdoors’ infrequently found in other employment. It has been previously demonstrated that management driven changes to fishing communities can directly and indirectly affect aspects of fishermen’s job satisfaction and, consequently, their well-being. This paper presents a unique through time comparison of job satisfaction among fishermen between three time periods (1977, 2009/10, and 2013/14) in two major New England fishing ports: New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Point Judith, Rhode Island. Results show important differences between the three time-periods analyzed that can be associated with important changes in fisheries management in the last few decades. Differences found between ports also emphasize important socio-cultural aspects influencing job satisfaction and well-being in fishing communities. This study demonstrates that job satisfaction variables are valuable indicators of change in the context of fisheries and therefore provide valuable information for the development of future management plans that take into account important aspects of fishing community well-being.

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Journal of Happiness Studies