Facts about Recreational Fishing from American Sportfishing Association and NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, based on 2013 findings:
• There are approximately 60 million anglers in the U.S. of which 46 million are estimated to fish in a given year.
• Fishing tackle sales grew over 16 percent in the past five years.
• Since 2006, angler numbers grew 11 percent.
• More Americans fish than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined.
• If fishing were a company, the amount spent by anglers to support fishing-related retail sales would rank number 51 on the Fortune 500™ list.
• Fishing generated more revenue ($48 billion) than Lockheed Martin ($47 billion), Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) or Google ($38 billion).
• The economic activity generated by sportfishing is greater than the economy, measured in Gross State Product, of 17 states.
• At more than 46 million anglers, more than twice the number of people fished in 2011 than attended every NFL game combined.
A report released in May 2013 by the American Sportfishing Association 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 – 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.
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.