How Much Is a Fish Worth?

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.

Tarpon by Dusan Smetana.

Photo by Dusan Smetana.

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.

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One comment on “How Much Is a Fish Worth?

  1. Duffy Leahy on said:

    I consider myself a recreational angler and eat what I keep. I follow DFG rules to the letter. If they are interested in seeing the tackle I have purchased as an example, I’d be happy to show them and then they can add up what just one angler spends on fishing. Calstar rods and Avet reels are expensive and they’re worth it. Spectra is not free. Flourocarbon leaders ditto. License fees go up every year. Even if I don’t fish, I buy a license every year just to support the DFG in their mission. I understand there’s good fishing in salt water not far from D.C. too. Fact finding is too easy. We’re here and we fish and we wish the tree huggers that involve themselves in creating no fishing zones would go home and let the DFG do its job. They’re the experts. The tree huggers can provide input on the menu at Starbucks and do other important work.

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