From supporting American jobs to providing a healthy protein source for our food supply, commercial fishing is enormously important to the United States. Although our overall take is obviously much lower than commercial sectors, saltwater recreational fishing also provides great value to the nation.
Saltwater recreational fishing benefits the U.S. in that it:
-brings economic activity,
-connects people to the outdoors and
-provides funding for conservation.
All these benefits aside, recreational fishing often is treated as an afterthought in federal saltwater fisheries management.
A first-of-its-kind report recently released by the American Sportfishing Association, Comparing NOAA’s Recreational and Commercial Fishing Economic Data, makes a strong case for elevating the attention policy makers and resource managers pay to recreational fishing.
Did you know that for every 100,000 pounds of fish landed there were 210 recreational fishing jobs but only 4.5 jobs in the commercial sector? Or that saltwater landings used by recreational anglers contribute three times more to the national gross domestic product (GDP, or value-added) than commercial landings?
Figures in the report highlight the importance of saltwater recreational fishing from an economic perspective. We at the American Sportfishing Association long have argued that anglers deserve equal footing in the fisheries management process. Now we have the numbers to prove it.
Mike Nussman is president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association and a TRCP board member.