Sportfishing industry testifies before Congress on economic impact of recreational fishing

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Temple Fork Outfitters and American Sportfishing Association committee member Frank-Paul King testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business last week about the economic impact of outdoor recreation.

“Without clean waters and abundant fish populations, the recreational fishing industry simply cannot survive,” King said, according to a statement. “No one wants to fish in dirty, polluted waters where fish populations have been depleted. Critical to small businesses in this segment of the outdoor recreation industry is that anglers can enjoy healthy aquatic systems with abundant fisheries.”

“We are grateful to the House Small Business Committee for focusing today’s hearing on the economic impact on outdoor recreation, including fishing,” said ASA government affairs vice president Mike Leonard. “Despite contributing 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, recreational fishing is often thought of in terms of ‘fun,’ but not ‘business.’ King’s testimony today helped to reinforce the need for conservation policies and adequate infrastructure, which will help spur economic growth in the sportfishing industry and the outdoor recreation economy as a whole.”

The U.S. House Committee Hearing on Small Business focused on how the growing outdoor-recreation industry contributes to economic growth, jobs and conservation. To maintain economic growth for outdoor recreation, it’s critical to have adequate infrastructure for anglers to have access to healthy fisheries, according to the ASA.

Anglers spend nearly $50 billion a year, which supports more than 800,000 jobs with an overall economic impact of nearly $125 billion. Congressional action to pass infrastructure funding will help create more access for fish and spur economic growth, the association said.