New report focuses on recreational fishing’s economic and conservation impact

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A new report, Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, highlights how recreational fishing endures as an activity and plays a significant role in fisheries conservation efforts. The study was produced for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) by Southwick Associates.

According to the report, America’s anglers spend an estimated $49.8 billion per year in retail sales associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $125 billion, fishing supports more than 800,000 jobs and generates $38 billion in wages and $16 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Anglers also support conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. In 2016, the excise tax on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channeled more than $600 million of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs.

The analysis is based on data from the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. It is conducted every five years on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The outdoor recreation industry was also included for the first time in the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) U.S. GDP calculations. The BEA’s report, issued in February 2018, found that the outdoor recreation sector makes up two percent of U.S. GDP and accounts for $673 billion in annual gross domestic output.

This impact exceeds key U.S. industries like farming and computer manufacturing. BEA said that the outdoor recreation economy grew by 3.8 percent in 2016, exceeding the 2.8 percent growth of the overall U.S. economy during the same period.

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