Date of Conferral


Date of Award





Public Policy and Administration


Richard Worch


Few empirical studies exist that compare regulation (R) and fishing crime (VL). The lack of information about R and VL effects stakeholder decision-making. Crime weakens conservation efforts and creates false baseline data. This furthers R and the cycle repeats. The purpose of this correlational study was to determine the statistical association between the number and type of annual commercial blue crab R and VL of the same. The Pearson's R correlation was used to analyze the data because it demonstrated the strength of each relationship. This quantitative study was grounded in enforcement theory. The data was public record and consisted of the number of R and VL issued yearly from the General Assembly of a Mid Atlantic's State Department of Natural Resources (MD-DNR). The intent was to correlate multiple decades, but the earliest available VL data began in 2009. The analysis uncovered divergent patterns. The correlation coefficient of 0.79644 confirmed laws from 2009 correlated positively with 2010 violations. Further analysis revealed a negative correlation for 2010 and 2011 that was indicated by a negative correlation coefficient of -0.3588 and -0.166. The mean average of VL was 12.5%. As restrictions keep increasing, the economic impact on local communities is substantial. This research has the potential to effect positive changes in restrictive harvest practices, record keeping of VL by Natural Resources of this Mid Atlantic State, and harvest reporting practices by crabbers. Sharing the findings with industry stakeholders may stimulate dialogue among stakeholders that answers why one type of regulation was violated more than another, encourage compliance by industry users, and improve conservation efforts to proliferate blue crab. This research contributes to future investigation of often-neglected variables that compromise conservation of blue crab.