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A report released by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) makes a powerful case that from an economic perspective, recreational fishing is just as important as commercial fishing, despite a much lower overall impact on the resource. According to the report, anglers landed just two percent of the total saltwater landings compared to ninety-eight percent caught by the commercial fishing industry.

This first-of-its-kind analysis – Comparing NOAA’s Recreational and Commercial Fishing Economic Data, May 2013 (for PDF report CLICK HERE) provides an apples-to-apples comparison of recreational and commercial marine fishing from an economic perspective using NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services (NOAA Fisheries) 2011 economic data. The report was produced for ASA by Southwick Associates. The full report and executive summary are available on ASA’s website or by CLICKING HERE.

Among the findings are:

  • Anglers landed just two percent of the total saltwater finfish landings compared to ninety-eight percent caught by the commercial fishing industry.
  • Saltwater landings by anglers contributed three times more to the national gross domestic product (GDP, or value-added) than commercial landings.
  • The recreational sector added $152.24 in value-added, or GDP, for one pound of fish landed, compared to the commercial sector’s $1.57 for a single pound of fish.
  • Within the jobs market, the recreational sector made up fifty-four percent of all jobs, both recreational and commercial. This amounts to 455,000 recreational jobs compared to 381,000 on the commercial side.
  • For every 100,000 pounds landed there were 210 recreational fishing jobs but only 4.5 jobs in the commercial fishing industry.

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