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.

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