Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies


Coastal and Marine Systems Science

First Advisor

Eric T. Koepfler

Second Advisor

Robert F. Young

Third Advisor

Erin J. Burge


In recent years, recreational anglers claim declining catch rates in the shore-based pier fishery in South Carolina. The study seeks to evaluate whether catch data supports angler testimony in this region, to examine the relationship of landings at piers in context of the regional level, and to test a method which would enhance the ability of managers to monitor landings of this under-studied fishery. Novel, non-standardized catch series extending back to 1973 were acquired from fishing piers and examined in an attempt to produce significant trends in measures of catch. King mackerel catch (Scomberomorus cavalla) was tested for correlation to data sets representative of population level data sets. A video survey method was compared to on-site surveys for its cost efficiency and efficacy of detecting catch per unit effort and species composition of catch at piers. Analysis of the historical catch records produced significant trends in measures of catch that are consistent with declining size and abundance. These results were suggestive of general trends in total population dynamics for king mackerel. The video survey method was found to produce total CPUE estimates that were not significantly different than those produced by an on-site observer, though species composition was not detectable. Enhancing the capability of managers to detect and monitor variability of CPUE at recreational piers will result in a better understanding of local fishing success, which can be indicative of population level dynamics.