Semester of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation

Document Type



Public meetings are a highly utilized tool for disseminating important or useful information. Many agencies rely on them to reach various stakeholders and community representation at these meetings is important. A substantial amount of research has been conducted on various aspects of public meetings including different techniques, factors impacting attendance, and representativeness, that is attendees’ opinions representing the opinions at-large. A noticeable gap in the research includes information on public fishery meetings, commercial fishing industries, and their members’ participation. With the U.S. commercial fishing industries supporting more than a million jobs and providing more than a 200-billion-dollar economic impact annually, public fishery meetings and commercial fisher representation is valuable. This research sought to answer if commercial fishers who attend public fishery meetings represent the same perceptions and attitudes as those who do not attend?

This study compared the survey responses of public fishery meeting attendees versus non-attendees in Louisiana, to determine if they shared the same perceptions and demographic characteristics. The survey instrument measured twenty-one characteristics and used a chi-square test of independence to compare the variables. The findings revealed fourteen of the characteristics to be significantly different among attendees and non-attendees, while only seven characteristics were not significantly different. The two groups varied in characteristics such as age, innovative strategies, and techniques to improve their businesses. The findings determined fishery meeting attendees did not share the same perceptions and opinions as non-attendees for the majority of measured characteristics. While the two groups did share some similar responses, the researcher concluded the responses were more different than they were similar.

Public meetings remain an important tool for hosting agencies to disseminate information, especially for natural resource departments, and steps should be taken to ensure they are more representative of their stakeholders. While many factors can influence fishery meeting attendance, the researcher recommended combining newer media techniques with traditional outreach methods, to reach and impact more diverse stakeholders. Increasing attendance at public fishery meetings could increase the effect on fishing communities, by providing recent and relevant information that could aid in the understanding of industry changes, economic impacts, or applicable research.



Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael F