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Readers Speak Out - Results from the 2007 Marine Digest Survey

by Lindy Barry
Fisheries Techician
May 22, 2008

Marine Digest CoverThe 2007 Marine Issue of the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife Digest invited readers to participate in our second reader survey. The 263 respondents were slightly fewer in number than 2006's survey, but they still provided valuable insights into their interests and concerns.

Most respondents (95%) identified themselves as recreational anglers, but we heard from the recreational-commercial, commercial and "other" sectors as well. As expected, New Jersey residents were in the majority, but readers also responded from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Maryland. All 21 counties in New Jersey were represented, with Burlington, Ocean and Camden counties bringing in the highest numbers.

Many of our readers were frequent visitors to the saltwater pages on the division's website, with 31% checking in at least 13 times in the past year, 28% with 6 to 12 visits, and 30% viewing the website two to five times. The most popular source for readers to obtain their copy of the Digest was bait and tackle shops (44%), followed by the Internet (27%), and sporting goods stores (14%).

Fish and Wildlife again asked our readers to rank the major articles from the Digest based on their usefulness, and the interest and enjoyment they provided. Garnering the highest scores were the species profile on Black Drum, tips for young anglers on "How to Catch a Whopper", and a piece about the Clean Vessel Act's impact on improving water quality.

These features were followed in descending order by an article on fishing for black drum in Delaware Bay, coverage of the annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park, and a profile on the Urban Fishing Program which introduces urban youth to the joys of fishing.

Our survey also encouraged feedback on 11 topics for future consideration of Digest articles, as well as a solicitation for open comments. Fishing techniques/places to fish and regulation changes/enforcement issues topped the list with over 200 responses each, followed closely by species profiles and artificial reefs.

Habitat protection/restoration, New Jersey research surveys and stock assessment/management processes elicited the next highest group of responses. The other topics, in descending order, included shellfisheries, volunteer opportunities, youth fishing and aquaculture.

Nearly 56% of respondents elaborated on their interests and expressed their opinions and concerns. Requests for detailed information on fish and shellfish species topped the list of comments. Those most often referenced were striped bass, summer flounder, weakfish, winter flounder, black sea bass, tautog, bluefish and blue crab. Artificial reefs was the next most cited topic, with readers requesting information on reef sites, upcoming deployments and types of fish found in these areas.

Other comments included inquiries on fishing locations and access, different types of fishing such as surf casting and offshore fishing, environmental information on major water bodies like the Delaware, Barnegat, Great and Raritan bays, boating access, different types of fishing gear and how to use them, and news about recreational/commercial fishing interactions.

We would like to thank all the readers who took the time and effort to participate in the 2006 and 2007 reader surveys for the Marine Issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest. During these last two years the results and the comments you submitted figured prominently in our discussions as we planned the contents for each new issue.

The 2008 Marine Digest again reflects the concerns and preferences you expressed. We hope you will keep posting your comments on our website, so we may continue to improve future issues and meet the interests of those who enjoy New Jersey's valuable marine resources.

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Last Updated: May 22, 2008