, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 628–639 | Cite as

Fishing to live or living to fish: Job satisfaction and identity of west coast fishermen

  • Daniel S. HollandEmail author
  • Joshua K. Abbott
  • Karma E. Norman
Research Article


Fishing is a dangerous and financially risky way to make a living, but it attracts many participants that prefer it to higher paying and safer jobs. Based on a survey of over 1400 U.S. West Coast fishing vessel owners we use factor analysis and structural equation modeling to quantify distinct latent variables representing job satisfaction related to non-monetary versus monetary aspects of fishing and measures of identity and social capital associated with being a fisher. We show that these latent variables have distinct effects on (stated) fishery participation behavior and that higher non-monetary job satisfaction, social capital, and identity, are associated with a willingness to forgo higher income to be a fisher. Understanding how these factors affect and are affected by participation in fisheries could be important to increase benefits from fisheries and to ensure sustainability of management regimes that rely on indirect controls on effort to limit catch.


Factor analysis Fisheries Identity Job satisfaction Social capital Well being 



This work was funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant Number 1616821) and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Funding sources were not involved in the study design, analysis, or writing of this paper or the decision to submit the article for publication. We thank Melissa Poe (Washington Sea Grant) who helped design and implement the mail survey used to collect data for this analysis.

Supplementary material

13280_2019_1206_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (683 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 683 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel S. Holland
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joshua K. Abbott
    • 2
  • Karma E. Norman
    • 1
  1. 1.Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science CenterNOAA, National Marine Fisheries ServiceSeattleUSA
  2. 2.School of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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