NOAA reports detail economic impact of fishing

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Recreational fishing generated $58 billion in sales and $19 billion in income and supported 381,000 jobs in 2012 in fishing and across the broader economy, according to a new NOAA Fisheries economic report.

U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $199 billion in sales in 2012, a gain of 7 percent from the previous year, with the economic impact of fishing jobs increasing 3 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Further, two more fish stocks were rebuilt to target levels in 2013, bringing the number of rebuilt U.S. marine fish stocks to 34 since 2000, according to another NOAA Fisheries report that also was released Tuesday.

Taken together, the two reports, Fisheries Economics of the United States 2012 and the Status of U.S. Fisheries 2013, show positive trends in the steady rebuilding of the country’s federally managed fisheries off the country’s coasts and the important role fisheries contribute to the U.S. economy.

“These two reports highlight the steady rebuilding of U.S. fisheries and the broad and positive economic impact of commercial and recreational fishing to the nation’s economy. These reports are an excellent example of the environmental intelligence NOAA uses and provides every day,” assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries Eileen Sobeck said in a statement. “Fishing is big business and culturally important in our country. On top of that, it supports a lot of jobs.”

The annual economic report also breaks down the sales, income and job figures for each coastal state. The five states that generated the most commercial fishing jobs in 2012 were California, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington and Alaska. The five states that generated the most recreational fishing jobs were Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey.

The Status of U.S. Fisheries report also shows improvement as U.S. fisheries continue to rebuild. The two stocks that were rebuilt in 2013 are Southern Atlantic Coast black sea bass and Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon.


One comment on “NOAA reports detail economic impact of fishing

  1. Shaun Mossmiano

    The 2012 economic report from NOAA Fisheries and our Department of Commerce uses data referred to as “fatally flawed” by the National Research Council in a 2006 study. IN response, Congress required that NOAA replace the recreational data collection methods by January 1, 2009, a deadline which some members of NOAA have acknowledged before congressional committee which was ignored.

    “It is correct that we have a 2009 deadline that we did not entirely meet,” said Sam Rauch in 2013. In that same congressional hearing, NOAA scientist Richard Merrick went on to explain how “Phone surveys don’t work anymore,” yet the agency has readily acknowledged that random dialing of coastal phone books was still the method (in 2014) for surveying recreational anglers for effort, participation and harvest.

    So this 2012 socioeconomic report by NOAA Fisheries and the Department of Commerce, it shows that JOBS in the recreational sector, along with annual INCOME and SALES, had grown in 2011 when compared to 2010. At the same time, the report shows that TOTAL TRIPS in the recreational sector had gone down!

    So this is a ‘TRADES’ website, right? Some of you folks reading this are in the marine-related business, so you’ll appreciate this I’m sure. Our federal unemployment rate increased from 5.1% to 9.1% between 2008 to 2011, yet our Department of Commerce says job growth in the recreational fishing sector climbed 18% during the same period! Considering that total recreational trips are falling each year, the obvious question of course is how is this possible?

    The answer is, it’s NOT! I’m sure it gives some folks some sense of optimism and pride to think that our federal government is calling recreational fishing a ‘growth industry’ but it’s simply not true – any junior high student taking his first economics course would tell you how laughable such a report is.

    NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Department of Commerce should be ashamed of themselves – not just for originally issuing this report back in 2012, but for re-circulating it 2 years later for some type of ideological marketing campaign.

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