Commercial Fishing in the Mobile Delta, Alabama During the Period of July 1, 1963 to June 30, 1964

A total of 205 licensed commercial fishermen fished in 31,549 acres of water of the Mobile Delta in Alabama north of U. S. Hig-hway 90 during the period July 1, 1963 to June 30, 1964. Forty-one (20 percent) of these fishermen were selected at random and interviewed. Information concerning catch, capital investment, gross income, net income, and operating expenses was obtained. It was assumed that this sample was representative of the 205 licensed freshwater commercial fishermen who fished the sample area and the data were calcuLated on this basis. Records of sales from retail and wholesale fish markets in the area were also used. Approximately 923 people in the delta were either partilally or totally supported by commercial fishing. Commercial fishermen used approximately 7 percent of their catch to feed their families, and gave away less than 0.5 percent of their catch. Only 28 percent of the catch was sold through retail and wholesale fish markets while 6,1 percent was sold directly to the consumer. Legal commercial fishing gear consisted of trammel nets, gill nets, hoop nets, baited lines, snag lines, and slat boxes. The average full-time commercial fisherman caught 5,205 pounds of fish which brought him a net income of $752.59 for his labor and investment. Part-time fishermen reported an average catch of 2,249 pounds of fish resulting in an average net income of $78.63 each. The total catch during the 1-year period was 605,889 pounds of fish (19.2 pounds per acre) valued at $173,700 to the fishermen.

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