Technical ReportPDF Available

Attitudes, Behavior, and Management Preferences of Texas Artificial Reef Users

Authors:
Attitudes, Behavior, and Management Preferences
of Texas Artificial Reef Users
Michael A. Schuett
Gerard T. Kyle
Rebekka Dudensing
Chen Ding
Carena van Riper
Jihee Park
Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2261
Report prepared for the Artificial Reef Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
March, 2015
ii
Attitudes, Behavior, and Management Preferences of Texas Artificial Reef Users
Michael A. Schuett
Gerard T. Kyle
Rebekka Dudensing*
Chen Ding
Carena van Riper
Jihee Park
Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2261
*Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension Agricultural Economics
Texas A&M University
March, 2015
iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Several individuals deserve special recognition for their assistance throughout this project. In
particular we are appreciative of the special efforts of Dale Shively and Brooke Shipley-Lozano of the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Artificial Reef Program, and Jeremy Leitz with the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Program for their assistance with sampling, survey logistics,
methodological issues, and for providing insight on important management issues. Despite the efforts
of many others, the authors are solely responsible for any errors of omission in this report. Funding
support for this study was provided by the TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program and Texas AgriLife Research.
The cover photo is from the Artificial Reef Program.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................................................................. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................................................................iv
LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................................................................... v
LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................................................vi
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................................... 1
INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................................................... 4
STUDY OBJECTIVES ..................................................................................................................................................... 6
METHODS ................................................................................................................................................................... 6
Sampling Design .................................................................................................................................................... 6
Questionnaire Development ................................................................................................................................ 7
Mailing Procedures ............................................................................................................................................... 7
RESULTS ..................................................................................................................................................................... 8
Response Rates ..................................................................................................................................................... 8
Respondents’ Socio-demographic Profile, Use, and Experience with Artificial Reefs .......................................... 8
TPWD Artificial Reefs .......................................................................................................................................... 19
DISCUSSION .............................................................................................................................................................. 35
Respondents’ Profile and Reef Behavior/Preferences ....................................................................................... 35
TPWD Artificial Reef Use ..................................................................................................................................... 37
FUTURE RESEARCH ................................................................................................................................................... 39
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................................................. 41
APPENDICES A-D ...................................................................................................................................................... 43
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Overall response rates for the mail survey of artificial reef users ............................................................... 8
Table 2. Percent of participants distributed by socio-demographic variables .......................................................... 9
Table 3. Importance for various items when choosing artificial reef sites for fishing, diving, or boating
(percentage) ............................................................................................................................................................. 12
Table 4. Most important item when choosing artificial reef sites (percentage) ..................................................... 13
Table 5. Participants’ level of agreement regarding the use of artificial reefs (percentage) .................................. 13
Table 6. Participants’ level of agreement regarding the management of artificial reefs (percentage) .................. 14
Table 7. Percentage of activities respondents participate in on their trips............................................................. 17
Table 8. Level of importance of the activities respondents participate in on their trips (percentage) ................... 17
Table 9. Mean direct expenditures on most recent reef-related trips in the Gulf of Mexico ................................. 18
Table 10. Willingness to pay (WTP) among respondents who provided a WTP equal or larger than their
current trip expenditures ......................................................................................................................................... 19
Table 11. Distribution of participants’ visits to artificial reef site(s) during their trips ............................................ 22
Table 12. Percent of participants distributed by ZONE(s) for those who could not identify the specific
TPWD artificial reef they last visited ........................................................................................................................ 24
Table 13. Percent of participants distributed by ZONE(s) and artificial reef site(s) where they spent most
of their time ............................................................................................................................................................. 24
Table 14. Percent of participants distributed by the most preferred zones and artificial reef sites ....................... 26
Table 15. Level of importance for why people participate in marine recreation (percentage) .............................. 34
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Percent of participants who have taken a trip to the Gulf of Mexico in the last twelve months ............ 10
Figure 2. Percent of participants who have taken trip(s) to the Gulf of Mexico in the last twelve months
by number of trips ................................................................................................................................................... 10
Figure 3. Primary purpose of trips to the Gulf of Mexico (percentage) .................................................................. 11
Figure 4. Percent of participants that have made use of artificial reef structures during their trips to the
Gulf of Mexico .......................................................................................................................................................... 11
Figure 5. Mean percentage of trips to reefs by specific reef structures .................................................................. 12
Figure 6. Percent of participants who experienced problems at an artificial reef site by specific condition
which reduced the probability of their return to artificial reef sites ....................................................................... 15
Figure 7. Participants’ difficulties caused by encounters at artificial reef sites (percentage) ................................. 15
Figure 8. Number of artificial reef trip(s) made in the Gulf of Mexico over the last twelve months
(percentage) ............................................................................................................................................................. 16
Figure 9. Number of hours participants stayed out on the reef (percentage) ........................................................ 16
Figure 10. Percent of additional people (by group size) that participants paid for on their most recent
reef-related trip in the Gulf of Mexico ..................................................................................................................... 17
Figure 11. Percent of participants who make use of TPWD artificial reefs ............................................................. 19
Figure 12. Percent of participants’ reasons for not making use of TPWD artificial reef sites ................................. 20
Figure 13. Mean number of trips by periods that participants made involving TPWD artificial reef sites ............. 21
Figure 14. Percent of participants distributed by the mainland areas/ports that they have departed from
for their most recent reef trip to the Gulf ............................................................................................................... 28
Figure 15. Percent of participants who have heard or seen information about the TPWD Artificial Reef
Program.................................................................................................................................................................... 29
Figure 16. Percent of participants distributed by sources from which they have heard or seen
information about the TPWD Artificial Reef Program ............................................................................................. 29
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Figure 17. Participants’ preferences of distance (in miles) of artificial reefs from the shore (percentage) ............ 30
Figure 18. Participants’ preferences of water depth (in feet) that artificial reef structures should be
situated from the ocean surface to the ocean bottom (percentage) ...................................................................... 30
Figure 19. Participants’ preferences of water height (in feet) from the ocean surface to the top of the
artificial reef structures (percentage) ...................................................................................................................... 31
Figure 20. Participants’ preferences of materials and structures for future artificial reef sites
(percentage) ............................................................................................................................................................. 31
Figure 21. Participants’ most preferred type of materials and structures for future artificial reef sites
(percentage) ............................................................................................................................................................. 32
Figure 22. Percent of participants who object to the use of the materials or structures listed in Figure 20 .......... 32
Figure 23. Percent of participants who object to specific type of materials and structures for future
artificial reef sites ..................................................................................................................................................... 33
Figure 24. Participants’ level of agreement toward the existence of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico
(percentage) ............................................................................................................................................................. 33
Figure 25. Participants’ level of awareness toward the practice of individuals placing their own fish
attracting structures in the Gulf of Mexico (percentage) ........................................................................................ 34
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In order to provide the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Artificial Reef Program
with updated information about individuals who use artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico for recreation,
Texas A&M University conducted a mail survey of 7,000 registered boaters (boats >26’ in hull length)
and 7,000 licensed saltwater anglers (license year 9/1/12-8/31/13). The sample was randomly drawn
from the saltwater angler and boat registration databases for coastal and adjacent counties as well as
counties from selected metropolitan areas, i.e., Dallas (Tarrant), Austin (Travis) and San Antonio (Bexar)
(31 counties in total). Respondents were sent a questionnaire by mail but were also given the option to
complete the questionnaire online. The questionnaires were sent out starting on October 21, 2013.
Respondents received four mail contacts. This survey provided the Artificial Reef Program with
information on respondents’ fishing and boating behavior, awareness and use of reefs as well as other
management topics. An overall response rate of 18.3% was achieved for the study. The following
bullets highlight the report findings:
A socio-demographic profile of the respondents showed a group of artificial reef users (both
TPWD reefs and other artificial structures) with a mean age of 56.9 years, predominantly male
(86.8%), 93.1% white, with more than one-third (36.1%) reporting incomes of over $160,000.
Over half (61.7%) had taken a trip to the Gulf of Mexico in the last 12 months with the primary
purpose of that trip focused on fishing (62.6%). Artificial reef use was reported by 54.9% of
respondents with the most frequently visited type of reef being standing rigs and oil production
structures (39.3%).
Over 70.0% (72.7%) made use of TPWD artificial reefs. Of those that did not use TPWD artificial
reefs (27.3%), the main reason reported was that they did not know where the reef sites were
located (61.9%).
The most important reasons for choosing artificial reefs for fishing, diving, or boating were
presence of desired fish (58.7%) and distance from port (28.8%).
Problems encountered which would reduce the probability of returning to the artificial reef sites
were varied; 57.2% reported the presence of too many other boats as the most frequent
response, followed by commercial fishing (41.1%).
2
Respondents gave a range of responses for the number of trips they had taken to the Gulf of
Mexico in the last 12 months with 60.8% reporting that they had taken between 1-5 trips,
followed by 6-10 trips (22.4%). The amount of time they spent by hours out on the reef showed
that almost half (49.3%) of respondents spent from 1-5 hours at the reef, followed by 30.1%
who spent between 6-10 hours on the reef.
Respondents spent an average of $1,652.00 per person on their most recent reef-related trip
with the highest average of $775.00 spent on private auto/boat expenses (gas, repairs, rental),
followed by $217.00 on retail shopping (bait/tackle, clothing, groceries, ice, etc.).
Artificial reef visitation was recorded by site and zone. The most frequently visited TPWD
artificial reef sites were the GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship (101 visits, 16.0%) and GA-189-
Mitchell’s (73 visits, 11.6%) in Zone One which are located off the coast of Galveston and
Freeport. Zone One received the most visits at 631; the total for all four zones totaled 1691
visits. The MI-616-Matagorda Island Liberty Ship received the second most visits with 79 (14.5%
in Zone Three). Respondents spent the most time at GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship.
The most frequent departure point was Galveston for 27.9% of the respondents, followed by
Port Aransas at 25.9% and Freeport at 22.6%.
Just over half (57.4%) had heard or seen information about the TPWD Artificial Reef Program.
More than three-fourths of respondents had heard or seen information about the TPWD
Artificial Reef Program primarily through two sources: magazines (43.8%) and the Internet
(38.3%).
The distance in miles respondents’ felt artificial reefs should be located off-shore was
approximately bi-modal with 30.2% reporting 1-10 miles and 30.0% above 30 miles. Overall,
32.9% of respondents preferred artificial reefs in waters deeper than 100 feet (from the ocean
surface to ocean bottom), and the preferred height from the ocean surface to the top of the
artificial reef structure was 21-40 feet (30.6%).
Preferred materials and structures for future artificial reef sites were ships and barges (84.5%),
followed by petroleum rig jackets, decks, and other oil production structures (81.8%). The most
preferred materials and structures for future artificial reef sites were petroleum rig jackets,
decks, and other oil production structures (47.2%).
3
Very few (7.9%) reported objecting to the materials and structures currently being used for
TPWD artificial reefs. Of those that did object, 37.8% objected to blocks made of concrete or fly
ash.
Just over one-third of respondents (38.0%) were unaware of the practice of individuals placing
their own fish attracting structures in the Gulf of Mexico, while 31.7% had heard of it
occasionally.
Almost all of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed (94.9%) that TPWD should place
more artificial reefs in the Gulf; 31.8% agreed that all submerged artificial reefs should be
identified with marker buoys.
Motives that were rated highest in importance for participating in marine recreation were: to be
close to water (46.9%), to be outdoors (45.4%), and for relaxation (45.4%). Other important
reasons included: to experience unpolluted natural surroundings (41.3%), for family recreation
(36.9%), to experience adventure and excitement (36.4%), and to get away from the regular
routine (35.5%).
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INTRODUCTION
The Texas Legislature passed the Artificial Reef Act in 1989. This legislation directs the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to promote, develop, maintain, monitor, and enhance the
artificial reef potential in state waters and federal waters adjacent to Texas. Artificial reefs are defined
as a structure or system of structures constructed, placed, or permitted in the navigable water of Texas
or water of the federal exclusive economic zone adjacent to Texas for the purpose of enhancing fishery
resources and commercial and recreational fishing opportunities (TPWD Artificial Reef Plan, 1990).
There are several types of artificial reefs in Texas and adjacent federal waters, ranging from nearshore
reefs and ship reefs to petroleum platforms (rigs). The reefs are spread throughout a wide area of the
Gulf of Mexico and are a popular fishing and diving destination.
Under the Coastal Fisheries Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Artificial
Reef Program officially began in 1990 to “promote, maintain, monitor and enhance the artificial reef
potential of Texas offshore waters” (TPWD Artificial Reef Program website, 2014). Before this,
fishermen had discretely placed artificial reef materials on the ocean bottom off the Texas coast since at
least the 1960s. Currently, there are 68 artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico that are managed by the
Texas Artificial Reef Program.
The majority of research conducted on artificial reefs has been focused in several areas,
including reef materials (Lukens & Selberg, 2004), biological effects on fish populations (Shipley &
Cowan, 2011), and economic impacts to local communities (Maliki, Otero, & Casanove, 2010). One area
of research that has not been examined in much recent detail is artificial reef use by recreation user
groups, including anglers and boaters. Managers need to learn more about the use of artificial reefs by
recreation user groups to be more effective in their outreach and education programs and to protect
the marine resources.
Past research in the 1980s and 1990s examined the use of artificial reefs in Texas waters,
concentrating on select recreation groups. In particular, these studies focused on scuba divers and
charter boat operators. In one of the early reports on artificial reefs, Ditton and Graefe (1978) examined
the fishing use at a particular type of artificial reefLiberty ships. Liberty ships carried supplies and
military personnel all over the world during World War II and were later intentionally sunk in the Gulf of
Mexico to serve as artificial reefs. This study surveyed owners of two different boat categories (i.e.,
26 feet or less and 26 feet or more) on fishing motivations and behavior. Anglers were motivated by
escape from everyday routines, relaxation, and being outdoors; the majority of boat owners traveled
5
less than 30 miles offshore, and preferred fish species for harvesting were kingfish, cobia, and red
snapper.
In a follow-up study, Ditton, Finkelstein, and Wilemon (1995) collected data from the Texas
charter boat industry (fishing and diving). They examined frequency of use, number of trips offshore,
and reef site selection. Charter fishing boats took 832 trips to TPWD artificial reefs and 3,300 trips
involving artificial reefs in general. The average maximum reported distance to reefs for all boat captains
was 63 miles; preferred reef materials for all boat types were oil production structures, ships, and
barges. A few years later, Ditton and Baker (1999) focused on one specific user group, sport divers.
They obtained a list of diving customers to examine their use of the Flower Garden Banks National
Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico, about 100 miles from the Galveston, Texas, jetties. Results
showed that just over half took one or more trips involving artificial reefs in the last 12 months and most
did not belong to a diving club. Respondents averaged 16 days diving in salt water and nine days in fresh
water; large naval ships, petroleum rig jackets, decks, and other oil production structures were the
preferred reef materials.
A few studies have focused specifically on the socioeconomic impacts of artificial reefs to local
economies. In particular, Hiett and Milon (2002) found that divers, boaters, and anglers spend
approximately $119.00 per day on artificial reef diving trips in the Gulf of Mexico. Using a more in-depth
approach focusing on labor income, taxes, and employment, Maliki et al. (2010) examined fishing and
diving activities to the Texas Clipper ship artificial reef. Fishing the Texas Clipper generated just over
$935,000 in output, while divers generated almost $1.5 million in output.
This body of research on artificial reefs has laid the groundwork for understanding user
characteristics, participation patterns, benefits, and expenditures; however, given the age of some of
these past data, more recent demographic, behavioral, and preference information is needed.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which near and offshore artificial reef
structures in Texas waters (e.g., Liberty ships, oil platforms, etc.) are used and experienced by two
groups, saltwater anglers and boaters. The TPWD Artificial Reef Program (Program, hereafter) focuses
its efforts in three areas: Rigs-to-Reefs, Nearshore Reefing, and Ships-to-Reefs. Even though the Program
only manages 68 of the artificial reef sites that are present in the Gulf of Mexico, these study results
reflect the use of both TPWD and other types of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
The products of our research provide management staff with an updated database that they can
query for information on reef use. The findings provide management staff with an understanding of
issues underlying saltwater anglers and boaters in several areas: (a) boating and fishing participation in
6
the Gulf of Mexico; (b) awareness and knowledge of TPWD’s artificial reefs and other artificial reefs in
the Gulf; (c) trip expenditures on past trips; (d) management and reef preferences; and (e) socio-
demographic characteristics. By understanding the diverse needs of saltwater anglers and boaters,
managers are better situated to make informed decisions affecting their programs and rules and
regulations and to understand how specific constituents will be impacted by policy.
STUDY OBJECTIVES
Three broad objectives guided this investigation:
1. Determine the recreational use of both TPWD and non-TPWD artificial reefs in the Gulf of
Mexico by saltwater anglers and boaters.
2. Report current level of awareness and knowledge about artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
3. Identify motivations to use artificial reefs, locations/reefs visited, preferred materials, trip
expenditures, and socio-demographic characteristics for saltwater anglers and boaters.
METHODS
Sampling Design
The sampling design for this study involved two recreational user groups: saltwater anglers and
registered boaters. Overall, a total of 14,000 anglers and boaters were surveyed. A total of 7,000
names and addresses were randomly selected from the population of Texas saltwater anglers from the
TPWD Point-of-Sale (POS) license files, specifically Saltwater Package and Senior counterpart, All-Water
Package and Senior counterpart, and Year-From-Purchase All-Water Licenses. These names were drawn
from Texas coastal and adjacent counties, and names were also drawn from three metropolitan
counties: Tarrant (Dallas), Travis (Austin), and Bexar (San Antonio). Thirty-one counties were chosen to
gather the sample (see Appendix A for the county list). These Texas residents purchased a fishing
license in state fiscal year 2013 (September 1, 2012-August 31, 2013). An additional 7,000 names and
addresses were also randomly selected from the population of registered boaters in the TPWD
registration database. These names were drawn from the list of non-commercial registered boaters
owning boats with a hull length of 26 feet or greater from the same list of 31 coastal, adjacent, and
metropolitan counties used for the saltwater anglers. A hull length of 26 feet or greater was used
because this size boat is more likely to be used for offshore saltwater fishing (Ditton & Graefe, 1978).
7
Questionnaire Development
A 10-page questionnaire was developed to assess information about anglers’ and boaters’ use
and experience with artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. Several of the study questions were similar to
those used in previous research by Ditton and Graefe (1978); the vast majority of items were newly
developed by Texas A&M University (TAMU) researchers and with representatives from TPWD’s
Artificial Reef Program and Coastal Fisheries Division. Topics included recreation activities in the Gulf of
Mexico, number of trips, selection criteria for visiting artificial reefs, preferred reef materials, location of
any artificial reefs visited (TPWD and others), reef-related trip expenditures, knowledge of the TPWD
Artificial Reef Program, and socio-demographics (see Appendix B for the survey questionnaire).
Mailing Procedures
Following the procedures recommended by Dillman, Christian, and Smyth (2008), we employed
a mixed-mode design that involved four contacts with respondents. For the mailings, cover letters were
sent displaying the green TPWD letterhead and the maroon TAMU logo with the black/white TPWD logo
on the envelope. The reminder/thank you postcard featured the maroon TAMU logo and black/white
TPWD logo. The online questionnaire featured the TPWD and TAMU logos in color. The use of TAMU
and TPWD logos together followed policies set forth by TAMU University Brand Guidelines. The initial
contact letter was sent out on October 21, 2013, and followed the sequence below for three subsequent
weeks:
(1) A personalized contact letter was sent out introducing the study and inviting the respondent to
complete the questionnaire online (www.tpwd-survey.org), or, if they preferred, a hard copy would
arrive in the mail in a week (see Appendix C for the survey correspondence).
(2) One week following the mailing of the first contact letter, a survey packet was sent to respondents
containing a cover letter informing them of the study and inviting them to complete the survey
questionnaire online or to complete the enclosed hard copy. In the survey packet, we included a
postage-paid, self-addressed return envelope.
(3) Two weeks following the initial contact, a reminder/thank you postcard was sent to respondents
with an associated URL link again inviting them to complete the survey online if they preferred that
option.
(4) Three weeks following the initial contact, another survey packet was sent to respondents containing
a cover letter informing them of the study and inviting them to complete the survey questionnaire
online or use the enclosed hard copy.
8
Survey instruments were each identified with a unique ID number connecting each respondent
to the mailed instrument. Each wave of survey materials was assembled and mailed to anglers and
boaters on Monday of each week. The respondents’ returned questionnaires were logged in and
processed. Non-deliverables were removed from the database and did not receive any further mailings.
Those who used the online system (Qualtrics software) entered a unique ID online to access the
questionnaire.
RESULTS
Response Rates
From the 14,000 names pulled from the entire sample of licensed saltwater anglers and
registered boaters for the mailing list, duplicates of people within and across lists, incomplete names,
and company addresses were deleted, yielding a sample size of 13,817 (Table 1). Of the 13,817
questionnaires mailed out, completed questionnaires were received from 2,510, for a raw response rate
of 18.1%. Respondents were given a choice of mailing their questionnaires back or using an online
response format. Taking into account 132 names that were returned due to bad addresses, non-usable
returns, nine deceased persons, and one boater who asked to be deleted from the mailing list, the
effective response rate was 18.3% (2,510/13,685). Of the 2,510 returned usable questionnaires, 1,877
were paper copies and 633 were online. The following results section reports aggregated angler and
boater data.
Table 1. Overall response rates for the mail survey of artificial reef users
Number
Mailed
Returned
Usable
Not
Returned
Returned
Non-Usable
Total Non-
Deliverable/Deleted
from sample
Raw
Response
Rate
13,817
2,510
11,294
13
132
18.1%
Respondents’ Socio-demographic Profile, Use, and Experience with Artificial Reefs
The socio-demographic description of the sample showed a mean age of 56.9 years, with the
largest age category being over 60 (41.3%) (Table 2). Respondents were mostly male (86.8%), with over
one-third (36.1%) reporting incomes of $160,000 and above. Race was dominated by those who were
white at 93.1%, with a nominal percentage of Mexican, Mexican American, or Chicano (6.0%). Thus,
even though this sample is not socio-demographically diverse, it is similar to past profiles found in other
9
Texas angler-related studies (Kyle et al., 2014). The largest percentage of respondents came from Harris
County (26.6%). A breakdown of respondents by zip code can be found in Appendix D.
Table 2. Percent of participants distributed by socio-demographic variables
(Q.28) Age
Percent
UNDER 20
0.4
20-30
2.9
31-40
6.8
41-50
16.8
51-60
31.8
OVER 60
41.3
Total
100.0
Mean (SD)
56.9 (12.2)
(Q.29) Gender
Percent
Male
86.8
Female
13.2
Total
100.0
(Q.30) Income
Percent
Under $20,000
3.1
$20,000 - $39,999
5.9
$40,000 - $59,999
8.2
$60,000 - $79,999
10.6
$80,000 - $99,999
9.9
$100,000 - $119,999
12.0
$120,000 - $139,999
8.0
$140,000 - $159,999
6.3
$160,000 and ABOVE
36.1
Total
100.0
(Q.31) Ethnicity
Percent
a. NO, NOT SPANISH/HISPANIC
91.4
b. YES, MEXICAN, MEXICAN AMERICAN, CHICANO
6.0
c. YES, OTHER SPANISH/HISPANIC GROUP
2.6
Total
100.0
(Q.32) Race?
Percent
a. WHITE
93.1
b. BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN
1.6
c. AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKAN NATIVE
0.7
d. ASIAN OR PACIFIC ISLANDER
1.3
e. SOME OTHER RACE
3.3
Total
100.0
(SD=Standard Deviation)
Initially, we asked respondents if they had taken a trip to the Gulf of Mexico in the last 12
months; 61.7% responded that they had (Figure 1). If they did not take a trip in the last 12 months, they
10
proceeded to the end of the questionnaire and filled out the socio-demographic section. Of those that
did take a trip to the Gulf, over half (57.1%) had taken between 1-5 trips in the last 12 months, and over
three-fourths (77.8%) had taken up to 10 trips (Figure 2). As for the primary purpose of the trips to the
Gulf, 23.3% went boating, while 62.6% went fishing (Figure 3). Only a small percentage named
snorkeling/diving as their primary trip purpose (3.5%). The top three activities of the “Other” category
were beach activities, sailing, and vacation.
Figure 1. (Q.1) Percent of participants who have taken a trip to the Gulf of Mexico in the last twelve months
Figure 2. (Q.1.1) Percent of participants who have taken trip(s) to the Gulf of Mexico in the last twelve months by
number of trips
61.7
38.3 Yes
No
57.1
20.7
9.7
5.3
2.0 2.1 3.1 1-5 Trips
6-10 Trips
11-15 Trips
16-20 Trips
21-25 Trips
26-30 Trips
OVER 30 Trips
11
Figure 3. (Q.2) Primary purpose of trips to the Gulf of Mexico (percentage)
In terms of actually making use of artificial reef structures, respondents were about split, with
just over half (54.9%) reporting that they did use them during their trips to the Gulf of Mexico, versus
45.1% that did not (Figure 4). Of those that did make use of artificial reefs during their trips, standing
rigs and oil production structures were reported as being used most frequently (39.3%), followed by
natural structures and topographical formations (20.8%); toppled, submerged rigs and oil production
structures (12.0%); and Liberty ships and other submerged vessels (11.9%). The rest of the structures
were used less frequently, with less than 10% use by the respondents (Figure 5).
Figure 4. (Q.3a) Percent of participants that have made use of artificial reef structures during their trips to the Gulf
of Mexico
23.3
62.6
3.5
10.6
Boating
Fishing
Snorkeling/Diving
Other
54.9
45.1
Yes
No
12
Figure 5. (Q.3b) Mean percentage of trips to reefs by specific reef structures
We explored various factors respondents considered in selecting artificial reef structures for
fishing, diving, and boating. Results showed that the presence of fish was extremely important for
58.7% of respondents, followed by distance from port (28.8%), depth of water (24.1%), and diversity of
marine life (23.1%) (Table 3). Regarding the importance of those previous choices for choosing artificial
reef sites, presence of desired fish (35.0%) and distance from port (32.8%) were the most important
(Table 4).
Table 3. Importance for various items when choosing artificial reef sites for fishing, diving, or boating (percentage)
(Q.4) Please rate the importance of the
following when selecting ARTIFICIAL REEF
sites for fishing, diving, or boating
Not At All
Important
Slightly
Important
Moderately
Important
Very
Important
Extremely
Important
a. Distance from port
2.7
8.2
25.8
34.6
28.8
b. Type of reef material
19.1
25.3
32.3
15.7
7.7
c. Reef design/layout
16.5
24.9
32.2
18.0
8.4
d. Reef size
5.8
13.9
34.5
32.7
13.3
e. Depth of water
2.3
4.6
25.3
43.7
24.1
f. Water clarity
3.5
9.0
31.3
38.8
17.4
g. Strength of currents
4.7
15.7
37.0
26.7
16.0
h. Presence of desired fish
0.8
3.0
6.5
31.0
58.7
i. Presence of desired marine life
other than fish
12.0
18.4
23.1
26.1
20.3
j. Diversity of marine life
5.5
11.9
27.2
32.3
23.1
k. Other
37.6
7.1
11.8
18.2
25.3
20.8
3.9
11.9
39.3
12.0 9.7
1.8
0
10
20
30
40
Natural
structures and
topographical
formations
Coral reefs Liberty ships
and other
submerged
vessels
Standing rigs
and oil
production
structures
Toppled,
submerged rigs
and oil
production
structures
Concrete blocks
and culverts
(pipe), other
concrete
materials, reef
balls, low relief
materials
Other
Percent
13
Table 4. Most important item when choosing artificial reef sites (percentage)
(Q.5) Of the considerations for reef site selection listed in
question #4 (A-K), which are most important to you?
Most Important
Second Most Important
a. Distance from port
32.8
22.6
b. Type of reef material
1.4
2.3
c. Reef design/layout
2.6
2.4
d. Reef size
4.1
6.1
e. Depth of water
11.7
19.3
f. Water clarity
4.0
7.8
g. Strength of currents
1.0
3.5
h. Presence of desired fish
35.0
21.9
i. Presence of desired marine life other than fish
2.7
5.3
j. Diversity of marine life
2.6
7.8
k. Other
2.2
1.3
Total
100.0
100.0
Respondents were asked to state their level of agreement with a series of statements regarding
the specific use of artificial reefs. The strongest agreement was shown for a better chance of catching
fish (71.2%), followed by more variety of fish at 61.6% (Table 5).
Table 5. Participants’ level of agreement regarding the use of artificial reefs (percentage)
(Q.6) Please circle the number that indicates
your level of agreement with these
statements about using ARTIFICIAL REEFS
Strongly
Disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly
Agree
Not
Applicable
a. Better chance of harvesting fish
0.4
1.2
3.8
22.6
71.2
0.8
b. Other recommended artificial reefs
to me
2.8
5.9
27.0
39.2
19.9
5.2
c. I don’t go out that far off shore
28.0
26.5
15.4
12.3
8.4
9.3
d. I like to go snorkeling in these areas
14.8
13.8
20.4
16.3
8.7
26.0
e. I like to go scuba diving in these
areas
13.6
11.2
17.3
15.2
16.6
26.2
f. They provide more opportunities to
observe fish
3.4
2.9
15.3
32.4
36.3
9.7
g. They degrade the natural ecosystem
72.1
19.0
5.1
1.2
1.0
1.7
h. They change the human use
characteristics of the area
31.4
15.3
19.6
24.1
7.9
1.7
i. There is more variety of fish
0.4
0.6
6.3
29.6
61.6
1.6
j. The reef areas are too crowded
11.2
26.2
37.0
18.3
6.0
1.3
k. They bring in tourism to the local
communities
1.5
3.7
20.9
38.3
33.3
2.3
l. They lead to overfishing in that area
24.6
35.8
26.3
9.7
2.7
0.8
m. There is recreation conflict with
other users at the reef sites
18.2
34.4
30.2
11.9
3.3
1.9
n. More information should be made
available about their benefits
1.8
2.3
14.6
35.6
43.8
2.0
o. They provide new areas to recreate
0.7
0.4
6.0
33.1
57.9
2.0
14
To obtain more detailed information, we explored additional statements regarding artificial reef
preferences. The survey results showed that 65.9% of respondents would like to see more artificial
reefs placed by TPWD in the Gulf; other items with comparatively high percentages of agreement
included 31.8% who would like to have all submerged artificial reefs identified with marker buoys,
closely followed by 30.6% who would like to have certain artificial reefs designed for specific uses, and
29.7% who would like to have mooring buoys (for tying off) provided by TPWD in the Gulf (Table 6).
Interestingly, one-fifth of responses were split on whether individuals should be allowed to place their
own underwater reef structures in the Gulf as long as they are in safe locations (21.9% strongly
disagreeing and 20.1% strongly agreeing).
Table 6. Participants’ level of agreement regarding the management of artificial reefs (percentage)
(Q.7) Please circle the number that corresponds
with your level of agreement with each of the
statements below about ARTIFICIAL REEFS
Strongly
Disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly
Agree
a. I would like to have all submerged
artificial reefs identified with marker
buoys
11.0
21.0
19.2
31.8
17.0
b. Mooring buoys (for tying off) should be
provided by TPWD in the Gulf
12.7
20.6
18.5
29.7
18.4
c. I want to see more artificial reefs placed
by TPWD in the Gulf
0.6
0.4
4.1
29.0
65.9
d. Certain artificial reefs should be
designed for specific uses (such as diving
only or sport fishing only)
10.9
15.9
23.5
30.6
19.1
e. Certain artificial reefs should be
designed for specific types of fishing
gear (such as rod and reel only or spear
gun only)
13.7
19.9
26.0
24.6
15.8
f. Individuals should be allowed to place
their own underwater reef structures as
long as they are in safe locations
21.9
18.5
18.1
21.3
20.1
When asked about encounters that caused the most problems for respondents and would
reduce the probability of their returning to a particular reef site, over half (57.2%) reported that the
presence of too many boats was a problem. Commercial fishing was also an issue, with 41.1% reporting
it to be a problem (Figure 6). No other issues were rated as being problematic for reducing the
probability of returning to artificial reef sites. A closer examination of the importance of these items
again revealed that the presence of too many boats was ranked as most important by 38.1%, followed
by commercial fishing at 26.4%. The presence of too many boats was also rated as second most
important at 27.9% (Figure 7). Evidently, the issue of crowded areas with too many boats on the
15
artificial reefs, whether the boats are commercial vessels or not, is a substantive concern for artificial
reef users.
Figure 6. (Q.8a) Percent of participants who experienced problems at an artificial reef site by specific condition
which reduced the probability of their return to artificial reef sites*
*over 100% due to multiple responses
Figure 7. (Q.8b) Participants’ difficulties caused by encounters at artificial reef sites (percentage)
6.2
41.1
16.1 16.3 12.8
2.9
57.2
13.9 17.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Sport fishing Commercial
fishing
Dive
operations
Commercial
ship traffic
Oil and gas
operations
Dangerous
marine life
Presence of
too many
other boats
Hazardous
structural
conditions
at reef site
Other
Percent
2.7
26.4
4.9 6.9 4.3 1.6
38.1
5.7
9.3
3.0
18.9
10.7 10.2 10.0
2.2
27.9
11.5
5.7
0
10
20
30
40
Sport fishing Commercial
fishing
Dive
operations
Commercial
ship traffic
Oil and gas
operations
Dangerous
marine life
Presence of
too many
other boats
Hazardous
structural
conditions
at reef site
Other
Percent
Most Important Second Most Important
16
In order to gain some background on the frequency of use of the artificial reefs, we asked
respondents about the number of trips they had taken to the Gulf of Mexico in the last 12 months.
Respondents gave a range of responses, with 60.8% indicating that they had made between 1-5 trips,
followed by 22.4% who indicated making 6-10 trips (Figure 8). The frequency dropped off sharply after
6-10 trips, with only a small percentage making over 20 trips in the last year (4.6%). In a closely related
item, the amount of hours respondents spent on the reef on their most recent trip was also tabulated,
with almost half (49.3%) spending from 1-5 hours offshore; the next longest time period out on the reef
was from 6-10 hours at 30.1% (Figure 9). Thus, over three-fourths of respondents spent a day or less out
on the reef on their most recent trip.
Figure 8. (Q.9) Number of artificial reef trip(s) made in the Gulf of Mexico over the last twelve months (percentage)
Figure 9. (Q.10) Number of hours participants stayed out on the reef (percentage)
60.8
22.4
8.3
3.8 4.6 1-5 Trips
6-10 Trips
11-15 Trips
16-20 Trips
OVER 20 Trips
49.3
30.1
7.2
7.9
5.5 1-5 Hours
6-10 Hours
11-24 Hours
25-48 Hours
OVER 48 Hours
17
Regarding other reef trip behaviors, 81.8% paid for between 1-5 people on their trips to the
reef, with 17.2% paying for between 6-10 people (Figure 10).
Figure 10. (Q.11) Percent of additional people (by group size) that participants paid for on their most recent reef-
related trip in the Gulf of Mexico
As for the activities they participate in on the trip, 94.0% went fishing, while a smaller
percentage (19.6%) went snorkelling/diving (Table 7). In a follow-up to the activities that they
participate in, fishing was considered as most important by 87.4%, followed by snorkeling/diving at
10.4% (Table 8).
Table 7. Percentage of activities respondents participate in on their trips*
(Q.12a) Which activities did you participate in on the trip? (Multiple choice)
Percent
a. Fishing
94.0
b. Snorkelling/Diving
19.6
c. Other
5.7
*over 100% due to multiple responses
Table 8. Level of importance of the activities respondents participate in on their trips (percentage)
(Q.12b) From the list above, which activity was most important to you?
Percent
a. Fishing
87.4
b. Snorkelling/Diving
10.4
c. Other
2.2
Total
100.0
81.8
17.2
1.0
1-5 People
6-10 People
More Than 10 People
18
In terms of the economic aspects of artificial reef use, respondents reported a spending average
of $1,652.00 per travel party (Table 9). Responses varied greatly, from no spending to thousands of
dollars per category. The largest and most variable expenditure category was private auto/boat
expenditures, including gasoline, repairs, and rental, which averaged $775.00 (46.9% of all the
expenditure items).
Table 9. Mean direct expenditures on most recent reef-related trips in the Gulf of Mexico
(Q. 13) How much did you and other members of your immediate group
spend on this trip, including travel to and from your home?
Mean (SD)
Range
a. Access fees (entrance fees, parking fees, boat launch, etc.)
$72 ($393)
$0-5,000
b. Restaurants & Bars
$146 ($293)
$0-5,000
c. Private auto/boat expenses (gas, repairs, rental)
$775 ($1,693)
$0-30,000
d. Charter/guide fees
$171 ($674)
$0-10,000
e. Lodging (hotel, camping)
$157 ($485)
$0-6,000
f. Retail shopping (bait &tackle, clothing, groceries, ice, etc.)
$217 ($540)
$0-12,000
g. Other entertainment (movies, etc.)
$26 ($158)
$0-3,000
h. Any other miscellaneous expenses (please list)
$88 ($610)
$0-12,000
Mean Amount Spent Per Trip
$1,652.00
--
(SD=Standard Deviation)
Respondents were asked how much their trip could have cost before they would have cancelled
it. Among respondents who provided willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates, just over one-fifth (21.2%)
would have paid between $1 to $500, and just over a quarter (26.3%) would have paid between $501 to
$1,000 more for the trip before cancelling it. Interestingly, only 1.3% were not willing to pay more for
the trip and would have cancelled if costs were higher (Table 10). The average willingness-to-pay
amount was $1,821.00, which was $641.00 above current expenditures. Both in regard to expenditures
and willingness to pay, it is noteworthy that many respondents had relatively high incomes (Table 1).
While 36.1% of respondents reported annual household incomes of $160,000 and higher, only 9.1% of
Texas households have annual incomes greater than $150,000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). This result
demonstrates that the sample consisted of users with discretionary income capable of spending money
on activities, which bodes well for tourism and marine recreation in coastal counties and communities.
19
Table 10. Willingness to pay (WTP) among respondents who provided a WTP equal or larger than their current trip
expenditures
(Q. 14) What is the highest amount your trip could have cost in total (recall the trip costs
you listed in Question #13) before you would have cancelled this trip in the Gulf of Mexico?
Percent
0
1.3
1~500
21.2
501~1,000
26.3
1,001~1,500
13.8
1,501~2,000
11.4
2,001~2,500
6.7
2,501~3,000
6.9
3,001~3,500
1.4
3,501~4,000
2.4
4,000~4,500
1.1
4,501~5,000
3.9
5,001~10,000
3.1
ABOVE 10,000
0.5
Total
100.0
Mean (SD)
$1,821.00
($1,996.00)
(SD=Standard Deviation)
TPWD Artificial Reefs
The next section of this report is specific to the use and experience with TPWD artificial reefs.
Initially, when asked about the use of TPWD artificial reefs, 72.7% of participants responded that they
made use of them, while slightly over one-fourth reported not using TPWD artificial reefs (27.3%)
(Figure 11). Hence, the majority of respondents in this study appear to be TPWD artificial reef users.
Figure 11. (Q. 15) Percent of participants who make use of TPWD artificial reefs
72.7
27.3
Yes
No
20
Regarding reasons for not making use of the TPWD artificial reef sites, the responses were
varied. Of those that reported that they did not make use of TPWD artificial reefs, over half (61.9%)
stated that they did not know where the sites were located (Figure 12). This finding is quite significant
since it details a general lack of knowledge about TPWD artificial reef sites by a majority of the
respondents who did not use them. Another major reason for not using TPWD artificial reefs sites, as
reported by over one-third (35.3%) of respondents, was that they did not travel that far off shore. This
response implies that participants took shorter trips out in the Gulf or had less time to spend in the
water. As for moderate reasons for not making use of TPWD artificial reefs, 13.5% felt that there was
recreation conflict with other users, and similarly, 13.4% felt reef sites were too crowded; this finding on
crowding appears connected to the issue of too many boats at the reef sites, which was mentioned
earlier.
Figure 12. (Q. 16) Percent of participants’ reasons for not making use of TPWD artificial reef sites
We asked respondents a series of questions pertaining to the number of trips they took to
TPWD artificial reefs sites over the last year, which sites they visited most often, and which sites they
preferred. Over a 12-month period from September 2012 to August 2013 and using three-month
increments, the total number of trips taken by all respondents in the study was 4,397. Visitation was
highest from June 2013-August 2013, totaling 2,317 trips (52.7%) with an average of 4.1 trips (Figure
13). Visitation was next highest in spring from March 2013-May 2013, with 908 trips (20.7%) and an
average of 1.6 trips; visitation in the fall (19.6%) was similar to the spring months. The winter time
period activity was quite low (7.0%) compared to the summer time period in 2013, so trip numbers may
not have been impacted by “Winter Texans.
17.6 21.1 22.7
12.5
9.8 13.4 13.5 8.5
35.3
10.6 8.5
61.9
37.3
54.9 55.3
17.0
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
I don't go out that far off
shore
The reef sites are too
crowded
There is recreation conflict
with other users at the reef
sites
I don't know where the reef
sites are
Percent
Minor Reason Moderate Reason Major Reason Not Applicable
21
Figure 13. (Q.17) Mean number of trips by periods that participants made involving TPWD artificial reef sites
In order to measure the number of specific sites and areas visited, respondents were provided a
map in the questionnaire showing a list of 66 TPWD artificial reef sites segregated into four zones (see
questionnaire in Appendix B). They were asked to record which specific sites and zones they visited
during their trips. Given the number of reef sites they could potentially visit, tabulated responses
showed a wide range of sites listed by frequency and location throughout the Gulf. Zone One, which is
located closest to the ports of Freeport and Galveston, has 12 artificial reef sites. Visitation was highest
in Zone One with a total of 631 total visits (37.3% of all zone visits) (Table 11). The most popular site
visited in Zone One was GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship with 101 visits (16.0% of visits), followed by GA-
189-Mitchell’s with 73 visits (11.6%); the sites in Zone One with the lowest visitation were HI-85-S.A.L.T.
and HI-17-Sabine (15 visits each, 2.4%).
Zone Two has the most artificial reef sites (35) but is located farther offshore than the other
three zones. The most-visited site in Zone Two was HI-A-480 with 23 visits (5.7% of visits), followed by
HI-A-571 with 20 visits (5.0%), and HI-A-447 with 19 visits (4.7%). Two sites were visited only five times
each in Zone Two, HI-A-317 and HI-A-281. The total number of visits for this zone was 404 (23.8%). Zone
Three, with 10 sites, is located near the ports of Port O’Connor, Port Aransas, and Corpus Christi, and
received the second most visits at 543 (32.1%). The most frequently visited reef sites in this zone were
MI-616-Matagorda Island Liberty Ship with 79 visits (14.5%) and MU-802-Mustang Liberty Ship with 68
visits (12.5%) (Table 11). Zone Four, which is located by Port Isabel, has the fewest number of artificial
reef sites with nine. The total number of site visits in Zone Four was 113 (6.6%). The most-visited sites
Total Trips: 864
Mean: 1.5
Total Trips: 308
Mean: 0.5
Total Trips: 908
Mean: 1.6
Total Trips: 2317
Mean: 4.1
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
Sept. 2012-Nov. 2012 Dec. 2012-Feb. 2013 Mar. 2013-May 2013 Jun. 2013-Aug. 2013
Mean
22
in this area were the two ship reef sites, PS-1070-Port Mansfield Liberty Ship and PS-1122-Texas Clipper,
each at 19 visits (16.8%).
Table 11. Distribution of participants’ visits to artificial reef site(s) during their trips
(Q.18a) Artificial Reef Sites (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone One
1: BA-336-George Vancouver Liberty Ship
62
9.8
2: BA-439-Matagorda
40
6.3
3: BA-A-28
57
9.0
4: GA-189-Barr’s
45
7.1
5: GA-189-Mitchell’s
73
11.6
6: GA-288-Buccaneer
63
10.0
7: GA-296-Buccaneer
58
9.2
8: GA-A-125
68
10.8
9: GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship
101
16.0
10: HI-117-Basco’s
34
5.4
11: HI-117-Sabine
15
2.4
12: HI-85-S.A.L.T.
15
2.4
Zone One Total:
631
100.0
Zone Two
13: HI-A-270
6
1.5
14: HI-A-271
8
2.0
15: HI-A-281
5
1.2
16: HI-A-285
6
1.5
17: HI-A-286
9
2.2
18: HI-A-298
9
2.2
19: HI-A-302
8
2.0
20: HI-A-310
7
1.7
21: HI-A-313
9
2.2
22: HI-A-315
9
2.2
23: HI-A-317
5
1.2
24: HI-A-323
6
1.5
25: HI-A-327
9
2.2
26: HI-A-330
13
3.2
27: HI-A-341
7
1.7
28: HI-A-349
18
4.5
29: HI-A-355
14
3.5
30: HI-A-356
10
2.5
31: HI-A-447
19
4.7
32: HI-A-462
11
2.7
33: HI-A-466
12
3.0
34: HI-A-477
14
3.5
35: HI-A-480
23
5.7
36: HI-A-487
16
4.0
37: HI-A-492
10
2.5
38: HI-A-497
13
3.2
39: HI-A-515
8
2.0
40: HI-A-517
9
2.2
41: HI-A-520
8
2.0
42: HI-A-532
18
4.5
23
Table 11. Distribution of participants’ visits to artificial reef site(s) during their trips (cont'd.)
We anticipated that respondents may not have been able to recall which specific reef site they
visited on their last trip. Therefore, we asked a question about site visits to each zone only. In response
to the item about number of trips to each zone, the results were as follows: Zone Two received the most
visits with 58 (41.4%), followed by Zone One with 46 (32.9%), Zone Three with 29 (20.7%), and Zone
Four with seven visits (5.0%) (Table 12). In general, these responses differed with the previous table
(Table 11), which stated that the most popular area was Zone One.
(Q.18a) Artificial Reef Sites (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone Two
43: HI-A-542
14
3.5
44: HI-A-555
16
4.0
45: HI-A-567
18
4.5
46: HI-A-570
17
4.2
47: HI-A-571
20
5.0
Zone Two Total:
404
100.0
Zone Three
48: BA-A-132
57
10.5
49: MI-616-Matagorda Island Liberty Ship
79
14.5
50: MI-712
67
12.3
51: MI-A-7
64
11.8
52: MU-746L-Boatmen’s
50
9.2
53: MU-770L-Lonestar
44
8.1
54: MU-775-Corpus Christi
38
7.0
55: MU-802-Mustang Island Liberty Ship
68
12.5
56: MU-828
36
6.6
57: MU-A-16
40
7.4
Zone Three Total:
543
100.0
Zone Four
58: MU-A-85
7
6.2
59: PN-967
6
5.3
60: PN-A-58
12
10.6
61: PS-A-72
6
5.3
62: PS-1047-Port Mansfield
15
13.3
63: PS-1070-Port Mansfield Liberty Ship
19
16.8
64: PS-1122-Texas Clipper
19
16.8
65: PS-1169L-Port Isabel
15
13.3
66: PN-A-42
14
12.4
Zone Four Total:
113
100.0
24
Table 12. Percent of participants distributed by ZONE(s) for those who could not identify the specific TPWD
artificial reef they last visited
In a closely related question, we asked respondents to identify which specific artificial reef site
they spent the most time at if they visited more than one reef site. In Zone One, the most popular reef
site was GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship with 28 visits (17.8%) (Table 11). This finding is consistent with
the earlier question (Table 9) for the sites visited, which showed the same reef site as the most visited.
In Zone Two, the sites where people spent the most time were HI-A-570 and HI-A-571, both at seven
times (8.8%); Zone Three’s site where people spent the most time was MU-802-Mustang Island Liberty
Ship, at 24 times (20.7%); and in Zone Four, it was PS-1122-Texas Clipper and PS8-1070-Port Mansfield
Liberty Ship, both at six times (23.1%).
Table 13. Percent of participants distributed by ZONE(s) and artificial reef site(s) where they spent most of their
time
(Q.18b) If you cannot identify the specific TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF site that you last
visited, please tell us which ZONE(s) you were in. (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone One
46
32.9
Zone Two
58
41.4
Zone Three
29
20.7
Zone Four
7
5.0
Total
140
100.0
(Q.19a) If you visited more than one TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF site, which site(s) did
you spend the most time? (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone One
1: BA-336-George Vancouver Liberty Ship
14
8.9
2: BA-439-Matagorda
7
4.5
3: BA-A-28
19
12.1
4: GA-189-Barr’s
12
7.6
5: GA-189-Mitchell’s
16
10.2
6: GA-288-Buccaneer
18
11.5
7: GA-296-Buccaneer
17
10.8
8: GA-A-125
11
7.0
9: GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship
28
17.8
10: HI-117-Basco’s
6
3.8
11: HI-117-Sabine
3
1.9
12: HI-85-S.A.L.T.
6
3.8
Zone One Total:
157
100.0
25
Table 13. Percent of participants distributed by ZONE(s) and artificial reef site(s) where they spent most of their
time (cont'd.)
(Q.19a) If you visited more than one TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF site, which site(s) did you
spend the most time? (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone Two
13: HI-A-270
2
2.5
14: HI-A-271
1
1.3
15: HI-A-281
2
2.5
16: HI-A-285
1
1.3
17: HI-A-286
1
1.3
18: HI-A-298
3
3.8
19: HI-A-302
1
1.3
20: HI-A-310
2
2.5
21: HI-A-313
1
1.3
22: HI-A-315
2
2.5
23: HI-A-317
1
1.3
24: HI-A-323
1
1.3
25: HI-A-327
1
1.3
26: HI-A-330
2
2.5
27: HI-A-341
1
1.3
28: HI-A-349
2
2.5
29: HI-A-355
3
3.8
30: HI-A-356
2
2.5
31: HI-A-447
1
1.3
32: HI-A-462
1
1.3
33: HI-A-466
1
1.3
34: HI-A-477
1
1.3
35: HI-A-480
3
3.8
36: HI-A-487
4
5.0
37: HI-A-492
1
1.3
38: HI-A-497
5
6.3
39: HI-A-515
2
2.5
40: HI-A-517
2
2.5
41: HI-A-520
1
1.3
42: HI-A-532
1
1.3
43: HI-A-542
2
2.5
44: HI-A-555
6
7.5
45: HI-A-567
6
7.5
46: HI-A-570
7
8.8
47: HI-A-571
7
8.8
Zone Two Total:
80
100.0
Zone Three
48: BA-A-132
11
9.5
49: MI-616-Matagorda Island Liberty Ship
16
13.8
50: MI-712
21
18.1
51: MI-A-7
9
7.8
52: MU-746L4-Boatmen’s
11
9.5
53: MU-770L-Lonestar
4
3.4
54: MU-775-Corpus Christi
5
4.3
55: MU-802-Mustang Island Liberty Ship
24
20.7
56: MU-828
8
6.9
57: MU-A-16
7
6.0
Zone Three Total:
116
100.0
26
Table 13. Percent of participants distributed by ZONE(s) and artificial reef site(s) where they spent most of their
time (cont'd.)
We asked one last question in order to determine which reef site or zone was respondents’
most preferred. Respondents could write in either a site or zone if they did not know or could not recall
where they went. In brief, the most preferred site in Zone One was GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship with
a frequency of 22 (17.2%); Zone Two’s preferred site was HI-A-570 with 11 visits (7.1%), Zone Three’s
was MI-712 with 28 visits (20.9%), and Zone Four’s was PS-1122-Texas Clipper with 11 visits (35.5%)
(Table 14). These results are somewhat consistent with the previous responses, but given the fact that
respondents could write in a zone or site, it is difficult to directly compare frequencies.
Table 14. Percent of participants distributed by the most preferred zones and artificial reef sites
(Q.19a) If you visited more than one TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF site, which site(s) did you
spend the most time? (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone Four
58: MU-A-85
1
3.8
59: PN-967
0
0.0
60: PN-A-58
2
7.7
61: PS-A-72
0
0.0
62: PS-1047-Port Mansfield
4
15.4
63: PS-1070-Port Mansfield Liberty Ship
6
23.1
64: PS-1122-Texas Clipper
6
23.1
65: PS-1169L-Port Isabel
4
15.4
66: PN-A-42
3
11.5
Zone Four Total:
26
100.0
(Q.19b) Which is your most preferred ZONE OR ARTIFICIAL REEF? (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone One
1: BA-336-George Vancouver Liberty Ship
17
13.3
2: BA-439-Matagorda
9
7.0
3: BA-A-28
14
10.9
4: GA-189-Barr’s
6
4.7
5: GA-189-Mitchell’s
11
8.6
6: GA-288-Buccaneer
13
10.2
7: GA-296-Buccaneer
10
7.8
8: GA-A-125
13
10.2
9: GA-A-22-Freeport Liberty Ship
22
17.2
10: HI-117-Basco’s
8
6.3
11: HI-117-Sabine
2
1.6
12: HI-85-S.A.L.T.
3
2.3
Zone One Total:
128
100.0
27
Table 14. Percent of participants distributed by the most preferred zones and artificial reef sites (cont'd.)
(Q.19b) Which is your most preferred ZONE OR ARTIFICIAL REEF? (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone Two
13: HI-A-270
2
1.3
14: HI-A-271
2
1.3
15: HI-A-281
2
1.3
16: HI-A-285
2
1.3
17: HI-A-286
3
1.9
18: HI-A-298
3
1.9
19: HI-A-302
3
1.9
20: HI-A-310
5
3.2
21: HI-A-313
4
2.6
22: HI-A-315
5
3.2
23: HI-A-317
4
2.6
24: HI-A-323
5
3.2
25: HI-A-327
4
2.6
26: HI-A-330
4
2.6
27: HI-A-341
4
2.6
28: HI-A-349
5
3.2
29: HI-A-355
8
5.2
30: HI-A-356
5
3.2
31: HI-A-447
4
2.6
32: HI-A-462
4
2.6
33: HI-A-466
5
3.2
34: HI-A-477
4
2.6
35: HI-A-480
5
3.2
36: HI-A-487
4
2.6
37: HI-A-492
5
3.2
38: HI-A-497
5
3.2
39: HI-A-515
4
2.6
40: HI-A-517
5
3.2
41: HI-A-520
4
2.6
42: HI-A-532
3
1.9
43: HI-A-542
3
1.9
44: HI-A-555
5
3.2
45: HI-A-567
7
4.5
46: HI-A-570
11
7.1
47: HI-A-571
7
4.5
Zone Two Total:
155
100.0
Zone Three
48: BA-A-132
13
9.7
49: MI-616-Matagorda Island Liberty Ship
19
14.2
50: MI-712
28
20.9
51: MI-A-7
8
6.0
52: MU-746L-Boatmen’s
11
8.2
53: MU-770L-Lonestar
8
6.0
54: MU-775-Corpus Christi
5
3.7
55: MU-802-Mustang Island Liberty Ship
21
15.7
56: MU-828
11
8.2
57: MU-A-16
10
7.5
Zone Three Total:
134
100.0
28
Table 14. Percent of participants distributed by the most preferred zones and artificial reef sites (cont'd.)
To identify the location where respondents departed from shore, we gave them a choice of
seven major ports. The most frequent departure point was Galveston for 27.9% of the respondents,
followed by Port Aransas at 25.9%, and Freeport at 22.6% (Figure 14). The fact that Galveston (first) and
Freeport (third) were frequent points of departure and near the Houston metro area is one of the
reasons that Zone One (closest) also had the highest frequencies for most time spent out on the reefs
(Table 13).
Figure 14. (Q.20) Percent of participants distributed by the mainland areas/ports that they have departed from for
their most recent reef trip to the Gulf
We asked if respondents had heard of or seen information about TPWD’s Artificial Reef
Program, and 57.4% reported that they were familiar with it (Figure 15). This finding may be an indirect
indicator of a lack of familiarity with TPWD artificial reef sites and their locations. Most respondents
learned of the Program through either a magazine (43.8%), a web search/TPWD webpage (38.3%), or
friends/family (28.8%) (Figure 16). The use of magazines as the number one source may be tied to the
mean age of respondents (56.9).
2.9
27.9
22.6
9.8
25.9
5.2 5.7 Port Arthur/Sabine
Galveston
Freeport
Port O’Connor
Port Aransas
Corpus Christi
Port Isabel
(Q.19b) Which is your most preferred ZONE OR ARTIFICIAL REEF (Multiple choice)
Frequency
Percent
Zone Four
58: MU-A-85
1
3.2
59: PN-967
0
0.0
60: PN-A-58
1
3.2
61: PS-A-72
0
0.0
62: PS-1047-Port Mansfield
6
19.4
63: PS-1070-Port Mansfield Liberty Ship
5
16.1
64: PS-1122-Texas Clipper
11
35.5
65: PS-1169L-Port Isabel
5
16.1
66: PN-A-42
2
6.5
Zone Four Total:
31
100.0
29
Figure 15. (Q.21a) Percent of participants who have heard or seen information about the TPWD Artificial Reef
Program
Figure 16. (Q.21b) Percent of participants distributed by sources from which they have heard or seen information
about the TPWD Artificial Reef Program*
*over 100% due to multiple responses
We asked several questions about reef locations, water depth, materials/structures for future
reefs, preferences for reef materials, and how respondents felt about artificial reefs being located in the
Gulf of Mexico. When queried about the distance artificial reefs should be situated from the shore,
respondents provided mixed results (Figure 17). Of those preferring closer reef locations, 30.2% were in
favor of the artificial reefs being 1-10 miles from shore, 30.0% preferred that the reefs be farther than
30 miles, 20.7% felt they should be 21-30 miles, and the remaining percentage (19%) preferred 11-20
miles. The mean distance was 26.6 miles from shore.
57.4
42.6 Yes
No
18.7 16.4
6.9
24.8
38.3
43.8
3.5 3.7
28.8
15.3
0
10
20
30
40
50
Television Social media
(Facebook,
Twitter)
Special event Newspaper Web search or
TPWD web
page
Magazine Radio Poster,
pamphlet, etc.
Friends/family Other
Percent
30
Figure 17. (Q.22) Participants’ preferences of distance (in miles) of artificial reefs from the shore (percentage)
Two questions were posed to respondents about the depth and height of the reefs. Responses
for the best water depth for artificial reef structures (from the ocean surface to the ocean bottom)
showed that the respondents wanted them to be deeper in the water (Figure 18). Deeper than 100 feet
was the most frequent response (32.9%), followed by 81-100 feet (22.0%). The mean preferred depth
was 109.9 feet from the ocean surface to the ocean bottom. As for the best height from the ocean
surface to the top of the artificial reef structure, the most frequent response was 21-40 feet (30.6%),
followed by 41-60 feet (22.6%) (Figure 19). The mean preferred height was 49.5 feet from the ocean
surface to the top of the artificial reef structure.
Figure 18. (Q.23a) Participants’ preferences of water depth (in feet) that artificial reef structures should be situated
from the ocean surface to the ocean bottom (percentage)
30.2
19.0
20.7
30.0
mean distance=26.6 miles
1-10 Miles
11-20 Miles
21-30 Miles
OVER 30 Miles
3.4 8.5
17.0
16.2
22.0
32.9
mean preferred depth=109.9 feet
1-20 Feet
21-40 Feet
41-60 Feet
61-80 Feet
81-100 Feet
ABOVE 100 Feet
31
Figure 19. (Q.23b) Participants’ preferences of water height (in feet) from the ocean surface to the top of the
artificial reef structures (percentage)
Preferences for types of materials and structures for future reef sites varied. Ships and barges
were preferred (84.5%), followed by rig jackets, decks, and other oil production structures (81.8%), and
then by concrete boxes or round culverts (64.8%) (Figure 20). This finding is consistent with the earlier
question on specific sites visited that showed the Liberty ships being very popular sites to experience.
When asked to choose the most preferred structure/material for future sites, rig jackets, decks, and
other oil production structures were chosen most often at 47.2% (Figure 21). Almost all of the
respondents (92.1%) did not object to the use of any materials or structures listed in the previous
question (Figure 22). Of the small percentage that did object, 37.8% of that group did not want blocks
made of concrete or fly ash, followed by 31.1% who did not want rig jackets, decks, and other oil
production structures (Figure 23).
Figure 20. (Q.24a) Participants’ preferences of materials and structures for future artificial reef sites (percentage)*
*over 100% due to multiple responses
26.1
30.6
22.6
8.1
12.6
mean preferred height=49.5 feet
1-20 Feet
21-40 Feet
41-60 Feet
61-80 Feet
ABOVE 80 Feet
81.8 84.5
54.8 62.5 64.8
13.8
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Rig jackets, decks,
and other oil
production
structures
Ships and barges Blocks made of
concrete or fly ash
Blocks made from
natural quarry rock
Concrete box or
round culverts (pipe)
Other
Percent
32
Figure 21. (Q.24b) Participants’ most preferred type of materials and structures for future artificial reef sites
(percentage)
Figure 22. (Q.24c) Percent of participants who object to the use of the materials or structures listed in Figure 20
47.2
27.5
5.6
11.1 7.5
1.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
Rig jackets, decks,
and other oil
production
structures
Ships and barges Blocks made of
concrete or fly ash
Blocks made from
natural quarry rock
Concrete box or
round culverts (pipe)
Other
Percent
7.9
92.1
Yes
No
33
Figure 23. (Q.24d) Percent of participants who object to specific type of materials and structures for future
artificial reef sites*
*over 100% due to multiple responses
Regarding respondents’ attitudes toward artificial reefs, not surprisingly, 87.6% agreed that
artificial reefs should be in the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 24) (item was reverse scored). Concerning the
practice of individuals placing their own fish-attracting structures in the Gulf of Mexico, just over one-
third (38.0%) were unaware of how extensive this practice was, and 31.7% thought this practice was
done only occasionally. Very few felt it was done extensively (6.1%) (Figure 25).
Figure 24. (Q.25) Participants’ level of agreement toward the existence of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico
(percentage)
31.1
13.3
37.8
8.9
13.3 15.6
0
10
20
30
40
Rig jackets, decks,
and other oil
production
structures
Ships and barges Blocks made of
concrete or fly ash
Blocks made from
natural quarry
rock
Concrete box or
round culverts
(pipe)
Other
Percent
87.6
6.0
1.3 0.0
5.0 Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly Agree
34
Figure 25. (Q.26) Participants’ level of awareness toward the practice of individuals placing their own fish
attracting structures in the Gulf of Mexico (percentage)
Finally, a question was posed to respondents about participating in marine recreation (Table
15). Three reasons scored the highest in importance for participating in marine recreation: to be close
to water (46.9%), to be outdoors (45.4%), and for relaxation (45.4%). Other important reasons included
the following: to experience unpolluted natural surroundings (41.3%), for family recreation (36.9%), to
experience adventure and excitement (36.4%), and to get away from the regular routine (35.5%).
Table 15. Level of importance for why people participate in marine recreation (percentage)
24.2
6.1
31.7
38.0
Not Extensive
Extensive
Occasional
Unaware
(Q.27) Please circle the number that indicates
your level of agreement with these statements
about using artificial reefs
Not At All
Important
Slightly
Important
Moderately
Important
Very
Important
Extremely
Important
a. To be outdoors
0.7
1.2
9.2
43.5
45.4
b. For family recreation
2.7
4.6
15.3
40.6
36.9
c. To experience new and different things
2.8
7.1
21.7
38.7
29.7
d. For relaxation
1.0
2.1
11.3
40.1
45.4
e. To be close to the water
1.0
2.8
11.5
37.8
46.9
f. To look at fish
10.0
19.2
27.3
25.0
18.5
g. To get away from the demands of other
people
8.3
11.4
20.5
29.6
30.3
h. For the experience of the catch
16.4
9.9
17.8
25.7
30.2
i. To test my equipment
26.6
24.8
27.3
13.7
7.7
j. To be with friends
3.0
6.1
19.8
38.8
32.3
k. To experience unpolluted natural
surroundings
2.3
4.5
15.6
36.4
41.3
l. To win a trophy or prize
65.1
16.5
10.2
4.4
3.8
m. To develop my skills
17.1
15.6
28.9
24.8
13.6
n. To get away from the regular routine
3.1
5.3
17.1
39.0
35.5
o. For the challenge or sport
12.3
10.4
21.5
30.7
25.1
p. To experience adventure and
excitement
3.7
5.6
19.0
35.4
36.4
35
DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was threefold: (1) to determine the recreational use of TPWD and
non-TPWD artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico by boaters and saltwater anglers; (2) to report current
level of awareness and knowledge about artificial reefs; and (3) to identify motivations for the use of
artificial reefs, locations and reefs visited, preferred reef materials, trip expenditures, and user socio-
demographic characteristics. The findings presented from this study provide current information on
TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program regarding artificial reef use and the behaviors and preferences of reef
users. Past TPWD research studies conducted on artificial reef users from the 1980s and 1990s were
dated; the findings from this research provide new data about contemporary artificial reef users for
management of artificial reef resources in the Gulf of Mexico.
Respondents’ Profile and Reef Behavior/Preferences
The socio-demographic profile of artificial reef users in this study reveals a male-dominated
(87%), mostly white (93%), middle-aged reef user (56.9 years) with an income well above the average
for most Texans. According to the 2010 Census (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014), Texas is one of the fastest-
growing states in the nation, with its overall population expected to increase from 26 million in 2014 to
35 million by 2040—a 19% increase. A lack of diversity among this study’s reef users opens the door for
new markets in Texas, especially for Hispanic users, who only made up 6% of the study population. By
2040, the Hispanic population in Texas is expected to increase by almost 50%, particularly in some of the
larger cities such as San Antonio and Austin. Given the current mean age of artificial reef users in this
study, TPWD should consider the population dynamics of the next generation and determine how best
to communicate and provide information about the Program to them. The current age of users, along
with their racial and ethnic composition, may impact the intensity and frequency of reef use in the
future and should be considered an opportunity to educate potential artificial reef users.
The findings in this study showed that just over two-thirds of respondents (67.1%) took trips to
the Gulf of Mexico in the last 12 months. The primary purpose of trips was fishing (62.6%). Of those
that did take a trip to the Gulf, just over half (54.9%) made use of artificial reefs on their trips. Over half
of the reef users in this study took between 1-5 trips in the last 12 months, mostly during the summer
months. Over three-fourths of the respondents (79.4%) spent between 1-10 hours out on the reef. The
visitation frequency and amount of time spent out on the reef can be based on many factors, including
boat type, distance from port, weather conditions, and activity, and was beyond the scope of this study.
36
In terms of the types of reef structures respondents preferred, more than one-third (39.3%)
visited standing rigs and oil production structures. Motives behind why they chose artificial reef sites
were largely “fish/fishing-centric,” with 58.7% rating the presence of desired fish as extremely
important. Additional information regarding their feelings about artificial reefs was also related to fish
species and fishing. Almost three-fourths of respondents strongly agreed that artificial reefs provide a
better chance of harvesting fish (71.2%), and 61.6% strongly agreed that these structures have more
variety of fish. Respondents were very interested in going out to reefs to go fishing, which is reasonable
given the fact that half the sample was made up of saltwater anglers. Other attitudes about artificial
reefs showed that more than three-fourths of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they
wanted to see more artificial reefs placed by TPWD in the Gulf.
There are issues, however, that impact reef use, with 38.1% reporting the presence of too many
boats and 26.4% reporting the presence of commercial fishing vessels as the most important reasons
causing difficulties with where the artificial reefs are located. Although challenging to project,
continued use of these areas by many types of boats may hinder the fishing experience and lead to
enhanced recreation conflict for those seeking to experience artificial reef areas. The issue of crowding
is nothing new for managing water recreation experiences in Texas, but further monitoring is needed to
determine the extent of the problem of too many boats around artificial reef sites. If increased
recreational boat usage or commercial fishing vessels are impacting the recreation experience, there
may be safety-related issues to investigate. Given the fact that the problems mentioned by artificial reef
users also referenced commercial fishing vessels, it would be prudent to obtain information from the
commercial fishing industry about this issue as well. A need to closely monitor the effect of artificial
reef use on marine resource management, including fish populations and species diversity in the Gulf of
Mexico, is another area that will continue to be a concern over time.
Respondents reported spending an average of $1,652.00 on their most recent reef-related trip.
Examination of these data by key categories revealed that respondents averaged $775.00 on private
auto/boat expenses (gas, repairs, rental) and $217.00 on retail shopping (bait/tackle, clothing, groceries,
ice). Respondents generally indicated that they were willing to pay more for their trips. Given that
access fees comprised less than 10% of average trip expenditures, TPWD may be able to evaluate
related fees and potential revenue without greatly restricting access to reefs.
The travel party expenditures reported by this sample suggest that reef trip spending is
substantial. However, we do not know how many people actually visited the reefs, so total expenditures
cannot be extrapolated. This is potentially an avenue for additional research and would allow for the
37
calculation of economic impacts related to the artificial reefs. Such a study would also describe how
other industries on the coast and in the remainder of the state are affected by reef-related tourism.
These data are important from a tourism and economic development perspective and should be
highlighted by coastal counties and communities. This information needs to be shared among
convention and visitor bureaus and other tourism-related businesses and organizations.
TPWD Artificial Reef Use
Results showed that respondents did not appear to be very well informed about TPWD artificial
reef sites or TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program. However, users want more artificial reefs out in the Gulf to
explore and use and would like all submerged reefs marked with buoys; this issue could be problematic
given navigational concerns and may require more discussion with boaters. While respondents may not
have been that well informed about reef locations, they did want to know more about access to artificial
reef sites. Just over half (57.4%) had heard about the Program. Almost half (43.8%) learned about it
through magazines, and just over one-third (38.3%) used a web search or the TPWD webpage. Given
the average age of the users in this study (56.9 years, with 41.3% over 60), this finding is not surprising.
Making artificial reef information available to more mature reef users may need to be reexamined by
TPWD because these individuals appear to rely on print media. Since Galveston, Port Aransas, and
Freeport were the most frequented points of departure, the Program may consider providing more
printed information about artificial reefs in these locations and monitor its effectiveness in reaching this
age group. For example, the Program may want to partner with local convention and visitor bureaus or
related businesses in making its printed material available.
For reaching future (possibly younger) users, the Program may need to revisit its Internet and
social media presence. To its credit, the Program is continually monitoring its 68 reef sites and posts this
information on its website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/habitats/artificial_reef/.
The Program provides explicit detail to reef users about all TPWD artificial reef sites, locations, and
depth, so current and potential reef users can be easily informed about various types of reef sites and
structures in the Gulf of Mexico. The Program’s monitoring team posts new information on its website
regularly, e.g., sea conditions, fish populations, etc., which is an exceptional resource for anyone
interested in artificial reefs. The Program makes an easy-to-use interactive map available on its website
as well. The map integrates various layers to illustrate the coordinates of reef locations, names,
materials, distances, and images. However, from the results in this study, it appears that respondents
were not using the Program website as their first choice for learning about artificial reefs in the Gulf; this
38
may be related to the average age of study participants. Thus, the map on the Program’s website might
not be the prime source used for locating the reef sites. Targeted feedback on the website and its usage
would be beneficial in order to keep it user friendly and up to date, and to meet the needs of current
and/or future reef users, e.g., divers. One observation from the researchers is that the Program’s
website is not easy to find from the TPWD website. To get to the Program website, potential users need
to type in the Program name or key words into the search option on the TPWD webpage or their own
browser. A link to “Artificial Reefs” is listed on the webpage in the Fishing tab, specifically under “Where
to Fish in Texas Public Waters,” but it is still a challenge to find the Program website. Future discussions
about the location of the Program’s webpage on the TPWD webpage should be considered.
In communicating with its customers in other ways, the Program uses social media outlets, e.g.,
Facebook. This social media tool enables reef users to ask questions, post comments on stories, and
obtain the latest information on the artificial reef sites. Program staff should investigate how Facebook
is being used and determine how beneficial it is to the Program. In regard to other online
communication strategies, TPWD has recently introduced an official app for hunting and fishing. This
app provides a plethora of information on various topics, e.g., bag limits and weekly fishing reports.
The Program may want to consider getting its own mobile app. The app can be added to the Program
website and include interactive features so that users can obtain current information and obtain
updates via notifications through their smartphone, e.g., iPhone, Android, etc. If it is not feasible to get
its own app, the Program could work in conjunction with other fishing or boating related programs at
TPWD to disseminate its information out. With over 56% of the U.S. population owning a smartphone
(Pew Research Center, 2013), the potential to reach new artificial reef users could be enhanced.
Even though respondents appeared to be somewhat uninformed about the Program or about
artificial reef locations, many individuals explored artificial reef sites. Respondents reported over 4,000
trips taken to TPWD artificial reef sites from September 2012-August 2013, primarily in the summer
months. Study participants were given a map in the study questionnaire to assist them in identifying
sites they had visited. Some of the most-visited TPWD artificial reef sites included the Freeport and
Matagorda Island Liberty ships. The choice of this type of structure is also tied to where respondents
wanted to visit in the future. When asked their preference of choices of structure and materials for
future artificial reefs, most preferred two main categories: rigs, decks, and other oil production
structures, and ships and barges. These results are consistent with the findings from previous artificial
reef studies with charter boat owners and anglers in the Gulf (Ditton & Graefe, 1978; Ditton, Finkelstein
& Wilemon, 1999).
39
Other reef use behavior and preferences showed that about one-third of reef users liked to stay
closer to shore (1-10 miles), while about another one-third preferred to go more than 30 miles offshore.
These findings portray a diverse group of users, some of whom prefer to stay closer to shore, but many
others who are able to go much farther out into the Gulf of Mexico, thereby spending more travel time
and resources to get to their preferred reef sites. This finding may also be related to boat
characteristics, navigation equipment, and fuel capacity, but those variables were not investigated.
As for water depth preferences of artificial reefs, about one-third preferred the artificial reef
structures to be deeper than 100 feet from the ocean surface to the ocean bottom. Regarding the best
height of artificial reefs, one-third preferred structures to be 21-40 feet from the ocean surface to the
highest point on the reef. Past research has examined the phenomenon that specific reef sites attract
and develop particular fish communities (Lindberg, 1997; Miller, 2002); hence, anglers prefer and seek
certain types of reef structures to fulfill their angling objectives (Graefe & Ditton, 1978). Given the fact
that the majority of reef users went on their trips for fishing-related activities, updated behavioral data
that relate to preferences for fish species, reef sites, locations, and structural choices should be
obtained.
This study provides current information on artificial reef use in the Gulf of Mexico, but more in-
depth data on the preferences and behaviors of artificial reef users are needed. Those who purchase
fishing licenses and/or register their boats should be provided with more information about the
Program and its website in order to become more familiar with its purpose and goals. It is in the state’s
best interest to continue to support the Program in order to make sure that artificial reef users are
provided with satisfying experiences, as well as to maintain and protect the marine resources in the Gulf
of Mexico. Learning more about the importance of artificial reefs for ecosystem restoration, water
quality, and fisheries production (Miller, 2002), as well as recreation, is an important aspect of TPWD’s
Artificial Reef Program.
FUTURE RESEARCH
This study surveyed licensed saltwater anglers and registered boat owners (n=31) in coastal
counties and three metro counties: Tarrant (Dallas), Travis (Austin), and Bexar (San Antonio). Through
the use of a mail survey and following the tailored design method (Dillman et al., 2008), respondents
were given an opportunity to respond by mail or online. The effective response rate for this study was
18.3%, and although this response rate may appear low, it is similar to the TPWD’s Statewide 2012
40
Angler Survey (Kyle et al., 2014). Unfortunately, increasingly lower response rates appear to be a trend
in survey research and are compounded by giving respondents a choice to respond by mail or online
(Vaske, Jacobs, Sijtsma, & Beamon, 2011). Given these survey research issues, consistent procedures in
conducting mail surveys, i.e., tailored design method, are even more important in order to minimize
response bias and ensure representative samples. Due to the fact that only licensed saltwater anglers
and registered boaters were queried, there may be a need to obtain additional data from other
individuals that take trips to the Gulf for other activities, e.g., diving or sailing.
Another factor to consider is the socio-demographic composition of this sample. Over half of
the respondents were middle-aged, predominantly white males, with more than one-third of them
reporting incomes over $160,000. There is a need to determine if the results from this study represent
reef users who do not own a boat or have a fishing license. Additional data could be collected onsite at
various coastal ports to obtain input from more diverse individuals, which may broaden the socio-
demographic composition of artificial reef users. Finally, it is recommended that a study of artificial reef
users be conducted every few years to develop a database that can be used to identify and monitor
trends over time.
41
REFERENCES
Dillman, D.A., Smyth, J.D., & Christian, L.M. (2008). 4th Ed. Internet, mail, and mixed mode surveys: The
Tailored design method. Wiley: New York.
Ditton, R.B., & Baker, T. L. (1999). Demographics, attitudes, management, preferences, and economic
impacts of sport divers using artificial reefs in offshore Texas waters. Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University: College Station, TX.
Ditton, R. B., & Graefe, A.R. (1978). Recreational fishing use of artificial reefs in Texas. Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University: College Station, TX.
Ditton, R.B., Finkelstein, L.D. & Wilemon, J. (1995). Use of offshore artificial reefs by Texas charter
fishing and diving boats. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University: College
Station, TX.
Kyle, G.T., Schuett, M.A., Lee, K., Yoon, J.I., Ding, C., & Wallen, K. (2014). Demographics, participation,
attitudes, and management preferences of Texas anglers. Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism
Sciences, Texas A&M University: College Station, TX.
Hiett, R., & Milon, J.W. (2002). Economic impact of recreational fishing and diving associated with
offshore oil and gas structures in the Gulf of Mexico. Final Report. OCS Study MMS 2002-010. U.S. Dept.
of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region: New Orleans, LA.
Lindberg, W. J. (1997). Can science resolve the attraction production issue? Fisheries, 22: 1013
Lukens, R.R., & Selberg, C. (2004). 2nd Ed. Guidelines for marine artificial reef materials. Artificial Reef
Subcommittees of the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions: Ocean Springs, MS &
Washington D.C.
Maliki, M., Otero, R., Chi, Y., & Casanove, V. (2010). Texas Clipper reef economic evaluation program.
University of Texas: Brownsville, TX.
Miller, M. W. (2002). Using ecological processes to advance artificial reef goals. Journal of Marine
Science, 59: 27-31.
Pew Research Center (2013). Retrieved from
media//Files/Reports/2013/PIP_Smartphone_adoption_2013_PDF.pdf
42
Shipley, J.B., & Cowan, J.H. Jr. (2011). Artificial reef placement: a red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus,
ecosystem and fuzzy rule-based model. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 18: 154-167.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Artificial Reef Plan (1990). Retrieved from
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_pl_v3400_0332.pdf
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Artificial Reef Program (2014). Retrieved from
http://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/habitats/artificial_reef/index.phtml
U.S. Census Bureau (2014). Texas population data. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census. gov/ qfd/
states/48000.html
Vaske, J.J., Jacobs, M.H., Sijtsma, M.T.J., & Beamon, J. (2011). Can weighting compensate for sampling
issues in internet surveys? Human Dimension of Wildlife, 16: 200-215.
43
Appendix A. List of counties for study sample
Aransas
Bee
Bexar
Brazoria
Brooks
Calhoun
Cameron
Chambers
Dallas
Fort Bend
Galveston
Hardin
Harris
Hidalgo
Jackson
Jefferson
Jim Wells
Kenedy
Kleberg
Liberty
Live Oak
Matagorda
Nueces
Orange
Refugio
San Patricio
Tarrant
Travis
Victoria
Willacy
Wharton
(n=31)
44
Appendix B. Questionnaire
SURVEY INSTRUMENT
TEXAS ARTIFICIAL REEF
SURVEY
Conducted for
TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
By
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE STATION, TX 77843-2261
45
ARTIFICIAL REEF USE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
In the following questions, please tell us about your use and experience with
ARTIFICIAL REEFS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.
1. Have you taken a trip to the Gulf of Mexico in the last twelve months?
1. YES If YES, how many? _____________
2. NO (If answered NO, please skip to question #27)
2. In thinking about your trip(s) to the Gulf of Mexico in the last twelve months, what was the primary purpose of
your trip(s)?
1. Boating
2. Fishing
3. Snorkeling/Diving
4. Other _________________________
3a. Do you make use of artificial reef structures during your trips to the Gulf of Mexico?
1. YES
2. NO (If answered NO, please skip to question #27)
3b. If YES, what percentage of your trips to reefs takes place at each of the following types of reef structures?
(Please enter zero (0) for any that do not apply).
_________% natural structures and topographical formations
_________% coral reefs
_________% Liberty ships and other submerged vessels
_________% standing rigs and oil production structures
_________% toppled, submerged rigs and oil production structures
_________% concrete blocks and culverts (pipe), other concrete materials, reef balls, low relief materials
_________% other (please specify ____________)
_________% TOTAL (should equal 100%)
4. Please rate the importance of the following when selecting ARTIFICIAL REEF sites for fishing, diving or boating.
NOT AT ALL
IMPORTANT
SLIGHTLY
IMPORTANT
MODERATELY
IMPORTANT
VERY
IMPORTANT
EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT
a) Distance from port
1
2
3
4
5
b) Type of reef material
1
2
3
4
5
c) Reef design/layout
1
2
3
4
5
d) Reef size
1
2
3
4
5
e) Depth of water
1
2
3
4
5
f) Water clarity
1
2
3
4
5
g) Strength of currents
1
2
3
4
5
h) Presence of desired fish
1
2
3
4
5
i) Presence of desired marine
life other than fish
1
2
3
4
5
j) Diversity of marine life
1
2
3
4
5
k) Other (list):
1
2
3
4
5
46
5. Of the considerations for reef site selection listed in question #4 (A-K), which are most important to you?
______ Most important for site selection (write letter only, e.g., a, b)
______ Second most important for site selection (write letter only)
6. Please circle the number that indicates your level of agreement with these statements about using ARTIFICIAL
REEFS.
7. Please circle the number that corresponds with your level of agreement with each of the statements below
about ARTIFICIAL REEFS.
NOT AT ALL
IMPORTANT
SLIGHTLY
IMPORTANT
MODERATELY
IMPORTANT
VERY
IMPORTANT
EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT
a) I would like to have all submerged
artificial reefs identified with marker buoys
1
2
3
4
5
b) Mooring buoys (for tying off) should be
provided by TPWD in the Gulf
1
2
3
4
5
c) I want to see more artificial reefs placed
by TPWD in the Gulf
1
2
3
4
5
d) Certain artificial reefs should be
designed for specific uses (such as
diving only or sport fishing only)
1
2
3
4
5
e) Certain artificial reefs should be
designed for specific types of fishing
gear (Such as rod and reel only or spear
gun only)
1
2
3
4
5
f) Individuals should be allowed to place
their own underwater reef structures as
long as they are in safe locations
1
2
3
4
5
STRONGLY
DISAGREE
DISAGREE
NEUTRAL
AGREE
STRONGLY
AGREE
NOT
APPLICABLE
a) Better chance of harvesting fish
1
2
3
4
5
NA
b) Others recommended artificial reefs
to me
1
2
3
4
5
NA
c) I don’t go out that far off shore
1
2
3
4
5
NA
d) I like to go snorkeling in these areas
1
2
3
4
5
NA
e) I like to go scuba diving in these areas
1
2
3
4
5
NA
f) There are more opportunities to
observe fish
1
2
3
4
5
NA
g) They degrade the natural ecosystem
1
2
3
4
5
NA
h) They change the human use
characteristics of the area
1
2
3
4
5
NA
i) There is more variety of fish
1
2
3
4
5
NA
j) The reef areas are too crowded
1
2
3
4
5
NA
k) They bring in tourism to the local
communities
1
2
3
4
5
NA
l) Leads to overfishing in that area
1
2
3
4
5
NA
m) There is recreation conflict with other
users at the reef sites
1
2
3
4
5
NA
n) More information should be made
available about their benefits
1
2
3
4
5
NA
o) They provide new areas to recreate
1
2
3
4
5
NA
47
8a. From the list of encounters below, which, if any, have caused you the most problems during your trips and
reduced the probability of your return to a particular ARTIFICIAL REEF site? (Please circle all that apply).
a. Sport fishing
b. Commercial fishing
c. Dive operations
d. Commercial ship traffic
e. Oil and gas operations
f. Dangerous marine life
g. Presence of too many other boats
h. Hazardous structural conditions at reef site.
i. Other (Please explain: )
8b. From the list above, which is the most problematic?
______ Most important problem (write letter only, e.g., a, b)
______ Second most important problem (write letter only)
9. How many ARTIFICIAL REEF trips did you make in Texas over the last twelve months? ___________
For questions #10-#15, please think back to your most recent REEF-
RELATED trip.
10. How long did you stay out on the reef?
__________Hours
__________Days
11. How many people (including yourself) in your immediate group did you pay for on this trip? ________
12a. What activities did you participate in on the trip? (Circle all that apply)
a. Fishing
b. Snorkeling/Diving
c. Other_________________
12b. From the list above, which activity was most important to you _______ (write letter only, e.g., a, b)
48
13. How much did you and other members of your immediate group spend on this trip, including travel to and
from your home? We understand this is a difficult question, but your responses are very important to estimate the
economic impact to our region.
TYPE OF EXPENDITURE Amount spent IN TEXAS
14. What is the highest amount your trip could have cost (recall the trip costs you listed in Question #13 above)
before you would have cancelled this trip in the Gulf of Mexico?
$_____________ HIGHEST TRIP COST
For questions #15 to #17, please tell us about your use of TPWD
ARTIFICIAL REEFS only.
15. When you are out in the Gulf of Mexico, do you make use of TPWD artificial reefs?
1. YES (If answered YES, skip to question #17)
2. NO (If answered NO, answer #16 and then skip to question #27)
a. Access fees (entrance fees, parking fees,
boat launch, etc.)
$
b. Restaurants & Bars
$
c. Private Auto/Boat Expenses (gas, repairs,
rental)
$
d. Charter/guide fees
$
e. Loading (hotel, camping)
$
f. Retail Shopping (bait & tackle, clothing,
groceries, ice, etc.)
$
g. Other entertainment (movies, etc.)
$
h. Any other miscellaneous expenses (please
list and explain below)
$
49
16. What are your reasons for not making use of TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF sites?
MINOR
REASON
MODERATE
REASON
MAJOR
REASON
NOT
APPLICABLE
a) I don’t go out that far off shore
1
2
3
NA
b) The reef areas are too crowded
1
2
3
NA
c) There is recreation conflict with other users
at the reef sites
1
2
3
NA
d) I don’t know where they are
1
2
3
NA
17. During each of the following three month periods, approximately how many trips did you make involving
TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF sites?
______ Trips involving TPWD artificial reefs (Jun. 2013-Aug.2013)
______ Trips involving TPWD artificial reefs (Mar. 2013-May 2013)
______ Trips involving TPWD artificial reefs (Dec. 2012-Feb. 2013)
______ Trips involving TPWD artificial reefs (Sept. 2012-Nov. 2012)
For questions #18 to #20, please consider your most recent reef trip to
the Gulf.
18a. Please identify the ZONE(S) (1-4) and TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF(S) you visited using the map on page 7. Use
numbers to identify ZONE and ARTIFICIAL REEF (e.g., ZONE #3, REEF #59). If you visited more than one ZONE or
REEF, please list in the space provided. Do not count zones or artificial reefs passed on your travel enroute to your
destination reef site(s).
ZONE/REEF
ZONE #_______________
ARTIFICIAL REEF #_______________
ZONE/REEF
ZONE #_______________
ARTIFICIAL REEF #_______________
ZONE/REEF
ZONE #_______________
ARTIFICIAL REEF #_______________
ZONE/REEF
ZONE #_______________
ARTIFICIAL REEF #_______________
50
Reef Number
Reef Site
Reef Number
Reef Site
Reef Number
Reef Site
ZONE ONE
ZONE THREE
ZONE FOUR
1
BA-336 - George Vancouver Liberty Ship
48
BA-A-132
58
MU-A-85
2
BA-439 - Matagorda
49
MI-616 - Matagorda Island Liberty Ship
59
PN-967
3
BA-A-28
50
MI-712
60
PN-A-58
4
GA-189 - Barr's
51
MI-A-7
61
PN-A-72
5
GA-189 - Mitchell's
52
MU-746L - Boatmen's
62
PS-1047 - Port Mansfield
6
GA-288 - Buccaneer
53
MU-770L - Lonestar
63
PS-1070 -Port Mansfield
7
GA-296 - Buccaneer
54
MU-775 - Corpus Christi
Liberty Ship
8
GA-A-125
55
MU-802 - Mustang Island Liberty Ship
64
PS-1122 - Texas Clipper
9
GA-A-22 - Freeport Liberty Ship
56
MU-828
65
PS-1169L - Port Isabel
10
HI-117 - Basco's
57
MU-A-16
66
PN-A-42
11
HI-117 - Sabine
12
HI-85 - S.A.L.T.
Reef Number
Reef Site
ZONE TWO
13
HI-A-270
14
HI-A-271
15
HI-A-281
16
HI-A-285
17
HI-A-286
18
HI-A-298
19
HI-A-302
20
HI-A-310
21
HI-A-313
22
HI-A-315
23
HI-A-317
24
HI-A-323
25
HI-A-327
26
HI-A-330
27
HI-A-341
28
HI-A-349
29
HI-A-355
30
HI-A-356
31
HI-A-447
32
HI-A-462
33
HI-A-466
34
HI-A-477
35
HI-A-480
36
HI-A-487
37
HI-A-492
38
HI-A-497
39
HI-A-515
40
HI-A-517
41
HI-A-520
42
HI-A-532
43
HI-A-542
44
HI-A-555
45
HI-A-567
46
HI-A-570
47
HI-A-571
51
18b. If you cannot identify the specific TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF that you last visited, please tell us which ZONE(s)
you were in.
ZONE(S) #_______________
19a. If you visited more than one TPWD ARTIFICIAL REEF site, which site(s) did you spend the most time? (Again,
please use the reef site numbers in the list with the map.)
ZONE(S)
ARTIFICIAL REEF # ________________
19b. Which is your most preferred ZONE OR ARTIFICIAL REEF?
ZONE # _________________
ARTIFICIAL REEF # ____________________
20. From the mainland areas/ports identified on the map, what is the closest port you departed from on your
most recent reef trip to the Gulf? (Please circle one)
a. Port Arthur/Sabine
b. Galveston
c. Freeport
d. Port O’Connor
e. Port Aransas
f. Corpus Christi
g. Port Isabel
21a. In the previous twelve months, have you heard or seen information about the TPWD Artificial Reef Program
(“Rigs to Reefs, Ships-to-Reefs, Nearshore Reefs”)?
1. YES
2. NO
21b. If YES, was this from: (Please circle all that apply)
a. Television
b. Social media (Facebook, Twitter)
c. Special event
d. Newspaper
e. Magazine
f. Radio
g. Poster, pamphlet, etc.
h. Friends/family
i. Other (Please explain: )
22a. Ideally, how many miles from shore should ARTIFICIAL REEFS be situated? _______ miles
52
23a. Ideally, what is the best water depth for ARTIFICIAL REEF structures (as measured in feet) from the ocean
surface to the ocean bottom? __________ feet
23b. Ideally, what are the best water depths (measured by feet) from the ocean surface to the top of ARTIFICIAL
REEF structures (as measured from the ocean surface to the highest point off the bottom of the ARTIFICIAL REEF
material)? _________ feet
24a. What types of materials and structures would you prefer for future ARTIFICIAL REEF sites? (Please circle all
that would be acceptable)
1. Rig jackets, decks, and other oil production structures
2. Ships and barges
3. Blocks made of concrete or fly ash
4. Blocks made from natural quarry rock
5. Concrete box or round culverts (pipe)
6. Other (Please explain: )
24b. Of the materials and structures listed above, which one would you prefer most for future artificial reefs?
(Please circle one answer only)
1 2 3 4 5 6
24c. Do you object to the use of any of the materials or structures listed above?
1. YES
2. NO
24d. If YES, which one(s) and why?
25. I do not feel there should be any ARTIFICIAL REEFS in the Gulf of Mexico. (Circle one)
26. On a scale of 1 to 4, how extensive would you say the practice of individuals placing their own fish attracting
structures in the Gulf of Mexico? (Please circle one that apply)
1=NOT EXTENSIVE
2=EXTENSIVE
3=OCCASIONAL
4=UNAWARE
27. Below is a list of reasons why people participate in marine recreation. Please circle the number that indicates
how important each item is to you
STRONGLY
DISAGREE
DISAGREE
NEUTRAL
AGREE
STRONGLY
AGREE
1
2
3
4
5
53
In the following questions, we would like to know some personal information about you so that we may further
distinguish artificial reef users and non-reef users. Your responses will be confidential and you will not be
identified with your answers.
28. What is your age?
Years
29. Are you: 1 MALE 2 FEMALE
30. What is your approximate annual household income before taxes?
1. Under $20,000
4. $60,000 - $79,999
7. $120,000 - $139,999
2. $20,000 - $39,999
5. $80,000 - $99,999
8. $140,000 - $159,999
3. $40,000 - $59,999
6. $100,000 - $119,999
9. $160,000 and ABOVE
31. Are you of Spanish/Hispanic origin?
a. NO, NOT SPANISH/HISPANIC
NOT AT ALL
IMPORTANT
SLIGHTLY
IMPORTANT
MODERATELY
IMPORTANT
VERY
IMPORTANT
EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT
a) To be outdoors
1
2
3
4
5
b) For family recreation
1
2
3
4
5
c) To experience new and different
things
1
2
3
4
5
d) For relaxation
1
2
3
4
5
e) To be close to the water
1
2
3
4
5
f) To look at fish
1
2
3
4
5
g) To get away from the demands of
other people
1
2
3
4
5
h) For the experience of the catch
1
2
3
4
5
i) To test my equipment
1
2
3
4
5
j) To be with friends
1
2
3
4
5
k) To experience unpolluted natural
surroundings
1
2
3
4
5
l) To win a trophy or prize
1
2
3
4
5
m) To develop my skills
1
2
3
4
5
n) To get away from the regular
routine
1
2
3
4
5
o) For the challenge or sport
1
2
3
4
5
p) To experience adventure and
excitement
1
2
3
4
5
54
b. YES, MEXICAN, MEXICAN AMERICAN, CHICANO
c. YES, OTHER SPANISH/HISPANIC GROUP (Please specify)___________________________
32. What is your race? Please indicate one or more races for what you consider yourself to be:
a. WHITE
b. BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN
c. AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKAN NATIVE
d. ASIAN OR PACIFIC ISLANDER
e. SOME OTHER RACE (Please specify) ______________________________________
33. What is the ZIP code of your primary residence?
______________________
34. Was this survey completed by the person whom it was addressed to?
1. YES
2. NO
35. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you!! Your contribution of time to this study is greatly appreciated. Please return your
completed questionnaire in the business reply envelope as soon as possible.
55
Appendix C. Survey correspondence
ID#
Date
First and Last Name
Street Address
City, State Zip
Dear First Name,
The Artificial Reef Program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has created and maintained over 4,000 acres
of artificial reef structures within Texas Gulf waters. Artificial reefs are structures or a system of structures constructed, placed,
or permitted (e.g., oil platforms) in the navigable water of Texas for the purpose of enhancing fishery resources and
commercial/recreational fishing opportunities. The use of reefs can be direct (fishing over or diving nearby) or indirect (trolling
near reefs).
Texas Parks and Wildlife would like to learn more about your use and preferences of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. To
gather information on your opinions, we are conducting a survey of registered boaters and licensed salt water anglers who may
have used artificial reefs in the past. The survey is being conducted by researchers from Texas A&M University on behalf of
TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program. The information gathered will provide data in support of fishery resources, habitat, and
marine recreation in Texas Gulf waters.
Your responses to the survey will help to inform us as to where you stand on these important issues concerning artificial reefs.
YOU are one of a small number of participants that were chosen to participate in this study. Your response to this survey is
completely voluntary. You are in no way obligated to participate if you do not feel comfortable doing so. However, we would
appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the questionnaire. Your answers will remain anonymous and completely
confidential. Only aggregated results will be reported. Once the study is complete, all names and addresses will be destroyed.
We WILL NOT sell or distribute your name and address to any other party. The questionnaire should take approximately 20
minutes to complete. You may be assured of complete confidentiality. The questionnaire has an identification number for
mailing purposes only. The number is used so we can check your name off the mailing list when your questionnaire is returned,
ensuring we do not send you a second questionnaire. Your name will never be placed on the questionnaire itself. Please
answer all of the questions to the best of your ability (if applicable). You will not be identified with your answers, and your
responses will be confidential.
If you would prefer you can access the questionnaire online, please type in website into the address bar:
www.tpwd-survey.org
If you would prefer a hard-copy version of the questionnaire, a survey packet will be sent to you in about a week. For questions
or clarification about the survey, please call Dale Shively with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (512) 389-4686.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Sincerely,
J. Dale Shively, Leader
Artificial Reef Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
ID#
56
Date
First and Last Name
Street Address
City, State Zip
Dear First Name,
Several weeks ago we sent you a letter requesting your participation in a survey concerning artificial reef use in Texas Gulf
waters. Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) would like to learn more about your use and preferences of artificial reefs in the
Gulf of Mexico. To gather information on your opinions, we are conducting a survey of registered boaters and licensed salt
water anglers who may have used artificial reefs in the past. The survey is being conducted by researchers from Texas A&M
University on behalf of TPWD’s Artificial Reef Program. The information gathered will provide data in support of fishery
resources, habitat, and marine recreation in Texas Gulf waters.
Your responses to the survey will help to inform us as to where you stand on these important issues concerning artificial reefs.
YOU are one of a small number of participants that were chosen to participate in this study. Your response to this survey is
completely voluntary. You are in no way obligated to participate if you do not feel comfortable doing so. However, we would
appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the questionnaire. Your answers will remain anonymous and completely
confidential. Only aggregated results will be reported. Once the study is complete, all names and addresses will be destroyed.
We WILL NOT sell or distribute your name and address to any other party. The questionnaire should take approximately 20
minutes to complete.
You may be assured of complete confidentiality. The questionnaire has an identification number for mailing purposes only.
The number is used so we can check your name off the mailing list when your questionnaire is returned, ensuring we do not
send you a second questionnaire. Your name will never be placed on the questionnaire itself. Please answer all of the questions
to the best of your ability (if applicable). You will not be identified with your answers, and your responses will be confidential.
Please fill out the enclosed hard-copy version of the questionnaire and place it in the business reply envelope and drop it in any
U.S. mailbox, postage is guaranteed. If you would prefer to access the questionnaire online, please type this website into the
address bar:
www.tpwd-survey.org
For questions or clarification about the survey, please call Dale Shively with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (512)
389-4686. Thank you in advance for your help.
Sincerely,
J. Dale Shively, Leader
Artificial Reef Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
57
ID#
Date
Dear First Name,
Recently, we mailed you a letter and questionnaire inviting you to participate in a survey regarding the use of artificial reefs in
Texas Gulf waters. If you have already completed the questionnaire, please accept our thanks. If you haven’t, please do so at
your earliest convenience. We understand that you are busy and may not have had a chance to complete the questionnaire. We
are looking forward to your feedback. If you would like to fill out a hard- copy version of the questionnaire, another survey
packet containing the questionnaire will be arriving in a week. If you would like to access the questionnaire online, please type
this website into the address bar:
www.tpwd-survey.org
Your response to this survey is completely voluntary. You are in no way obligated to participate if you do not feel comfortable
doing so. However, we would appreciate your taking the few minutes necessary to complete the questionnaire. Thank you for
your assistance.
Sincerely,
J. Dale Shively, Leader
Artificial Reef Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
58
ID#
Date
First and Last Name
Street Address
City, State Zip
Dear First Name,
Several weeks ago we sent you a letter requesting your participation in a survey concerning artificial reefs in Texas Gulf
waters. As of today we have not yet received your completed questionnaire. If you have recently completed the questionnaire,
please accept our thanks.
The success and accuracy of our survey depends on you and the others who have not yet responded. You and other individuals
who have not responded may have different opinions and may represent a completely different segment of those who use
artificial reefs and have sent in their questionnaire. We need to hear from you!
This survey is being conducted so Texas Parks and Wildlife can learn more about your use and preferences about artificial
reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. The information gathered will provide data in support of fishery resources, habitat, and marine
recreation in Texas Gulf waters. Your responses to our questionnaire are as important to you as they are to us because of their
impact on future management decisions.
We are writing to you again because of the importance each questionnaire has to the usefulness of this survey. You are one of a
small number of individuals being randomly sampled. In order for survey results to be representative of boaters and licensed
saltwater anglers in Texas, it is essential that you complete the questionnaire. Whether you went out to the Gulf waters one
day or ten days, we need to hear from YOU. Your response to this survey is completely voluntary; you are in no way obligated
to participate if you do not feel comfortable doing so. However, we would appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the
questionnaire. Your answers will remain anonymous and completely confidential. Only aggregated results will be reported.
Once the study is complete, all names and addresses will be destroyed. We WILL NOT sell or distribute your name and
address to any other party. The questionnaire should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Please fill out the enclosed
hard-copy version of the questionnaire and place it in the business reply envelope and drop it in any U.S. mailbox, postage is
guaranteed. If you would prefer to access the questionnaire online, please type this website into the address bar:
www.tpwd-survey.org
For questions or clarification about the survey, please call Dale Shively with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (512)
389-4686. Thank you in advance for your help.
Sincerely,
J. Dale Shively, Leader
Artificial Reef Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
59
Appendix D. Percent distribution of participants in Texas by zip code
(Q35) What is the ZIP code of your primary residence?
County
Frequency
Percent
520, 521, 401, 532, 429, 433, 536, 562, 001, 002, 003, 004, 005 006, 007, 008, 009, 013, 015,
016, 017, 018, 019, 020, 021, 023, 024, 025, 027, 030, 032, 034, 035, 036, 039, 040, 041, 042,
043, 044, 046, 047, 048, 049, 051, 052, 055, 056, 057, 058, 059, 060, 061, 062, 063, 064, 065,
066, 067, 068, 069, 070, 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 077, 079, 080, 081, 082, 083, 084, 086, 087,
088, 089, 090, 092, 094, 095, 096, 098, 099, 207, 292, 336, 338, 339, 346, 396, 449, 450, 493,
571, 503, 504, 505, 508, 586, 373, 379, 388, 389, 375, 377, 484, 598
Harris
643
26.6
518, 539, 546, 550, 551, 552, 553, 554, 623, 563, 565, 568, 573, 650, 510, 517, 590, 591
Galveston
261
10.8
002, 015, 023, 069, 109, 112, 148, 207, 209, 210, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 220, 221, 222,
225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 238, 240, 242, 244, 245, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251,
253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 264
Bexar
173
7.2
401, 402, 403, 404, 406, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 463, 469, 373, 380
Nueces
169
7.0
701, 703, 704, 705, 708, 717, 721, 723, 725, 726, 727, 728, 730, 731, 732, 733, 734, 735, 736,
738, 739, 744, 745, 746, 747, 748, 749, 750, 752, 753, 756, 757, 758, 759, 768, 645, 660, 669
Travis
169
7.0
001, 006, 011, 012, 015, 016, 017, 018, 020, 022, 034, 036, 039, 040, 051, 052, 053, 054, 063,
092, 099, 102, 107, 108, 109, 112, 114, 116, 120, 123, 126, 132, 133, 135, 140, 148, 179, 180,
182, 244, 248
Tarrant
153
6.3
422, 430, 480, 486, 511, 515, 531, 534, 541, 566, 577, 578, 581, 583, 584
Brazoria
141
5.8
406, 407, 441, 451, 459, 461, 469, 471, 477, 478, 479, 489, 494, 497, 498
Fort Bend
107
4.4
006, 019, 030, 038, 041, 042, 043, 044, 048, 050, 052, 060, 061, 062, 063, 080, 081, 088, 089,
104, 106, 137, 146, 150, 181, 201, 204, 208, 219, 220, 224, 225, 229, 231, 234, 236, 243, 244,
248, 252, 339
Dallas
95
3.9
619, 627, 629, 640, 642, 651, 701, 705, 706, 708, 713
Jefferson
62
2.6
520, 521, 526, 550, 552, 559, 566, 575, 578, 583, 586, 593, 597
Cameron
60
2.5
358, 382
Aransas
46
1.9
335, 336, 362, 368, 374, 387, 390
San Patricio
41
1.7
501, 504, 516, 539, 541, 563, 570, 572, 573, 574, 577, 596
Hidalgo
29
1.2
414, 419, 456, 457, 465, 482, 483
Matagorda
27
1.1
901, 902, 904, 905, 968, 976
Victoria
26
1.1
303, 304, 306, 356, 365, 380, 381, 382, 386
Montgomery
23
1.0
611, 630, 632, 662
Orange
23
1.0
978, 979, 982, 983
Calhoun
22
0.9
514, 523, 580, 597, 661, 665
Chambers
19
0.8
345, 340, 358
Walker
16
0.7
535, 538, 564, 575
Liberty
13
0.5
007, 010, 068, 262
Denton
12
0.5
420, 437, 455, 488
Wharton
12
0.5
729, 613, 641, 665, 681
Williamson
12
0.5
625, 657, 656, 659, 663
Hardin
11
0.5
332, 383
Jim Wells
6
0.2
737, 620
Hays
5
0.2
962, 957
Jackson
5
0.2
102
Bee
3
0.1
340, 377
Refugio
3
0.1
598, 580
Willacy
3
0.1
028
Johnson
2
0.1
363
Kleberg
2
0.1
022
Live Oak
2
0.1
All other Zip Codes
Other
21
0.9
... In these studies, the establishment of the USS Spiegel Grove artificial reef reduced diver visitations at nearby natural reefs by 13.7% despite an overall increase in diving in the area, although this was not the case for the USS Vandenberg [1,2]. The popularity of artificial reefs has been observed in various locations (e.g., Texas [23]), and both the high levels of use and the economic importance of artificial reefs off western Florida have been well documented [3,24]. ...
... The ecological role of artificial reefs on fish population dynamics is controversial [26,27], and some important recreational species were found in lower density and/or biomass at our artificial reef sites than at the natural reef pair (e.g., red grouper, Epinephelus morio [21]). However, recreational fishermen often report high success rates on artificial reefs [23,27], and the opinion that artificial reefs increase the amount of desirable species is shared by most users in Florida [24]. Diving, and particularly spearfishing, may also be an important activity at the artificial reefs in the study region, and likely contributes to the increased boat visitation rates at these reefs. ...
... Artificial reefs have been found to be popular with divers in several studies [1,24,28,29], possibly due to actual or perceived spearfishing success, nature viewing, or other ecosystem services [29]. Artificial reefs composed of large ships and other large structures are known to attract divers [1,23,28], and likely attract traditional sport divers, not just those interested in spearfishing. Several large wrecks are found at the offshore artificial reefs in this study (e.g., the USCGC Blackthorn and the Sheridan tug at Pinellas II, and two commercial fishing boats at Treasure Island II), which are popular destinations for local diver charters (personal observation). ...
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Artificial reefs are commonly used as a management tool, in part to provide ecosystem services, including opportunities for recreational fishing and diving. Quantifying the use of artificial reefs by recreational boaters is essential for determining their value as ecosystem services. In this study, four artificial–natural reef pairs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico (off western Florida) were investigated for boat visitation rates using autonomous acoustic recorders. Digital SpectroGram (DSG) recorders were used to collect sound files from April 2013 to March 2015. An automatic detection algorithm was used to identify boat noise in individual files using the harmonic peaks generated by boat engines, and by comparing the sound amplitude of each file with surrounding files. In all four pairs, visitation rates were significantly higher at the artificial reef than the natural reef. This increase in boat visitation was likely due to actual or perceived increased quality of fishing and diving at the artificial reefs, or to lack of knowledge of the presence or locations of the natural reefs. Inshore reefs (<15 m depth) had high variability in monthly visitation rates, which were generally highest in warmer months. However the seasonal signal was dampened on offshore reefs (>25 m depth). This study appears to be the first to use acoustic data to measure participant use of boating destinations, and highlights the utility of acoustic monitoring for the valuation of this important ecosystem service provided by artificial reefs.
... This inference is supported by a recent survey of recreational anglers in Texas which suggested that over 70% of the anglers used artificial reefs, with nearly 40% of these anglers targeting standing platforms (Schuett et al. 2015). Moreover, in a Gulf-wide study, observed the highest Red Snapper spawning frequencies at natural habitats in this region- now showing signs of recovery, management could benefit from a better understanding of regional or even habitat-level differences in stock demographics, as these dynamics ultimately determine overall stock productivity. ...
... Although fishing mortality can be quite high at these habitats (e.g., Addis et al. 2016), artificial reefs have the potential to divert fishing effort away from more sensitive natural habitats and-based on the findings hereaway from a large portion of the Red Snapper population in the western GOM. This inference is supported by a recent survey of recreational anglers in Texas, which suggested that over 70% of the anglers used artificial reefs, with nearly 40% of these anglers targeting standing platforms (Schuett et al. 2015). Moreover, in a GOM-wide study, Porch et al. (2015) observed the highest Red Snapper spawning frequencies at natural habitats in our region, further highlighting the potential benefits of the RTR artificial reefs and the diversion of fishing pressure away from natural habitats. ...
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The ecological study of natural reef communities has followed a progression from observational/descriptive studies to a more experimental and process-oriented approach. Ironically, most published studies of artificial reefs are observational despite the fact that their manipulative nature lends these reefs to an experimental approach, and despite the potential benefits of an experimental, process-oriented approach to fulfilling their objec-tives. Most applications of artificial reefs are underpinned by ecological processes ranging from trophic interactions and recruitment to individual physiology and biogeochemical cycling. Examples concerning three goals are discussed; enhancement of fisheries produc-tion, ecosystem restoration, and water quality enhancement. These examples illustrate (1) predictions that can be drawn from basic ecological studies of ''natural'' reef organisms and ecosystems regarding ecological structure, processes, and performance of artificial reefs, and (2) how an experimental ecological approach has been (or could be) utilized to elucidate ecological process and yield specific improvements in the application of artificial reefs to achieve management goals. In fact, answering the ''why'' and ''how'' questions addressed by experimental process studies is the only way to improve our success in achieving any sort of ecological engineering objectives. 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd on behalf of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.