Texas For-Hire Fishing Guide Program

The recreational fishing industry represents a significant component of the Texas coastal economy. In particular, the fishing guide sector has grown substantially in recent years, with over 1,400 state- and federally permitted fishing guides currently registered along the coast. This industry plays a key role in providing access to the water for residents and visitors alike, fostering immersive recreational, educational, and ecological experiences. Texas Sea Grant (TXSG) recognizes the important contributions of the for-hire fishing guide industry and is implementing a series of projects to enhance the quality and quantity of resources available to this fishery sector.

Phase I: The Texas For-Hire Fishing Industry Survey

To identify which resources would be most useful to the fishing guide industry, TXSG is conducting a needs assessment in Phase I of the program. We are surveying fishing guides and Captains along the Texas coast to develop a baseline understanding of the existing practices and needs of this sector. We request survey participation from individuals in this fishery to collect information about their business operations and safety practices, disaster preparedness, environmental stewardship, and understanding of fishery management. The survey will provide us with a deeper understanding of trends and needs within the for-hire/fishing guide industry and will allow TXSG to refine and implement programs to provide additional tools and opportunities for fishing guides, potentially including a new voluntary guide certification program.

Furthermore, by allowing survey respondents to optionally provide demographic information about themselves, their crew, and their clientele, TXSG aims to gain a clearer understanding of the diversity within this sector so that we can develop future programs that are inclusive of fishery participants’ ranges of backgrounds, industry experience, education levels, and languages.

How to Take the Survey

The survey is open to all for-hire fishing guides and Captains who operate along the Texas coast. We encourage all guides to take advantage of this opportunity to provide feedback to TXSG. Your voices will positively influence our future work for the benefit the recreational fishing sector. The survey is expected to take about 20 minutes and all questions are voluntary. Survey responses are anonymous.

The survey can be accessed using the web link tx.ag/TXFishingGuides.

We extend our gratitude to members of the recreational fishing industry for your time and consideration and hope that many of you will complete the survey.

Those with questions about the survey or who prefer to fill out the survey by hand may contact TXSG Fisheries Specialist Laura Picariello at lpicariello@tamu.edu or at (361) 371-4207 or Fisheries Specialist Alexis Sabine at asabine@tamu.edu for more information or to receive a paper survey sent by mail.

Phase II: Best Practices Guide

Survey responses will be compiled to create a summary profile of the Texas fishing guide industry. In Phase II of the program, TXSG will design a Best Practices Guide. The Guide will contain information on four key topics pertaining to this recreational fishery sector: 1) business practices, 2) disaster preparedness, 3) fishery management, and 4) environmental stewardship techniques. TXSG staff will work collaboratively with fishery stakeholders to gather more in-depth information on optimal industry methods and practices in these focus areas for inclusion in the Best Practices Guide.

Information on Phase II of the program will be updated once the survey (Phase I) is completed. 

Phase III: Training Workshops

Following analysis of For-Hire Fishing Industry Survey responses, TXSG staff will develop training workshops on topics of interest, such as business planning and environmental literacy. TXSG plans to coordinate and facilitate up to three (3) workshops throughout the coast in areas where for-hire recreational fishing activity is concentrated. Specific locations, dates, and workshop topics will be finalized once the survey has been completed and the Best Practices Guide has been designed. TXSG staff will recruit local experts to provide training in their areas of expertise. 

The objective of this program is to facilitate Texas fishing guides and for-hire recreational fishing industry members becoming more knowledgeable of industry best practices, which we hope will improve environmental stewardship, resilience, and professionalism within the fleet.

Stay tuned for additional information on Phase III as the program progresses!

Laura Picariello

For More Information:

Laura Picariello

Fisheries Specialist

lpicariello@tamu.edu

(361) 371-4207

Alexis Sabine

For More Information:

Alexis Sabine

Fisheries Specialist

asabine@tamu.edu