Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Technical Memorandum
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4646
Title: Washington and Oregon saltwater sportfishing surveys: Methodology and results
Author/Editor: Leif E. Anderson, S. T. Lee
Publication Year: 2013
Tech Memo Number: NMFS-NWFSC-124
Pages: 61
Date: 2013

The Washington Sport Fishing Survey and the Oregon Sport Fishing Survey were administered during 2006 and 2007 by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. These surveys gathered data on the preferences, trips, expenditures, and demographic characteristics of saltwater anglers in Oregon and Washington. The surveys were administered by mail in waves during 2006 and 2007 to approximately 8000 anglers in each state. Participants were selected randomly from the population of adult anglers who purchased any license that enabled them to fish in saltwater during the license-year. We implemented the data collection following Dillman (2000) and used a modified protocol with up to six total contacts: an initial telephone survey, a prenotice letter, the first mailing of the full survey, a postcard reminder, the second full mailing of the survey, and the third full mailing of the survey. A section of discrete choice experiment questions were included in the surveys. An experimental design was used to select the attributes in these questions. Focus groups and one-on-one interviews were used to test the attributes and levels we selected to ensure the fishing trips in the design were contextually realistic and presented the respondents with no excessive cognitive difficulties. The experimental design was generated in two distinct stages: (i) we generate a candidate set consisting of feasible saltwater fishing trips and (ii) we pair members of this candidate set based on the criteria of maximizing the D-efficiency of a choice model. Due to an oversampling of nonresident anglers in each state, results are provided separately for population segments determined by residency status and state. Fishing is the most important recreational activity for 35-45% of each segment of the population, and 86-93% consider fishing either the most important activity or are indifferent between fishing and other recreational activities. When comparing freshwater fishing to saltwater fishing, there is a noticeable difference between the two states. In Oregon, more anglers prefer freshwater fishing whereas in Washington, more anglers prefer saltwater fishing. The majority of anglers in the two states use a private boat most often to fish in saltwater. This proportion is largest in Washington and is likely due to the greater ease and safety of saltwater access in the state. The other two fishing modes receive a roughly equal share of primary use among respondents. Overall, the general characteristics and preferences of anglers indicate that anglers are a very heterogeneous group. For example, preferences for fishing relative to other recreational activities show an almost equal split of respondents who prefer fishing and respondents who are indifferent. Preferences for saltwater fishing relative to freshwater fishing show a similar degree of variation as answers are split almost equally between the three categories: prefer saltwater, prefer freshwater, and indifferent. This heterogeneity is surprisingly similar across states and residency status. The effective overall response rates for Oregon and Washington saltwater anglers are 48% and 51%, respectively. While response rates are the standard measure of whether or not the sample is representative of the population of interest, a true test of representativeness requires an examination of potential nonresponse bias. We used a brief telephone pre-survey administered to the same population in order to examine differences to questions asked on both the phone survey and mail survey. Variables that could reliably be gathered over the phone and which had the potential for differences between respondents and non-respondents were collected from the same underlying population. In most instances, telephone respondent characteristics match closely to those of mail survey respondents, indicating a low likelihood of nonresponse bias.

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