Angling for Ways to Help the Economy

Fishing for blues in the Chesapeake Bay.

Fishing for blues in the Chesapeake Bay.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

With the current state of our economy, it’s interesting to note the positive effects of unlikely activities, such as commercial and recreational saltwater fishing. According to a recent economic report released by NOAA’s Fisheries Service, commercial and recreational fishing generated $185 billion in sales for the U.S. economy and supported more than two million jobs in 2006, the latest statistics available.

“Managing fisheries sustainably is good for the environment and the economy,” said Jim Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “Fishing helps create a substantial number of jobs around the nation.”

The peaceful pastime of fishing involves a few more expenses than some would imagine. Saltwater anglers are estimated to have spent $5.8 billion on trip-based expenses, such as bait and fuel, and another $25.6 billion on fishing equipment like fishing rods, tackle, and boats.

Funding for Vital Projects

Fishing along seawall while headboat returns from a day's fishing offshore.

Fishing along seawall while headboat returns from a day's fishing offshore.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Not only does buying fishing gear boost local economies, the fees from fishing licenses provide states with significant funds to improve fish resources. North Carolina was the most recent state to implement a saltwater fishing license. From January through August 2007, the North Carolina committee in charge of the fishing licenses collected about $7.9 million. Once obligations and other expenses were paid, the committee was able to fund several projects to promote and improve fishing, including:

A carrier vessel taking a load of menhaden to a processing plant.

A carrier vessel taking a load of menhaden to a processing plant.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Multiple professions are involved in the process of delivering the fish from the ocean to the dining room table. The 1.5 million jobs supported by the commercial fishing industry did not just involve restaurant employees and commercial fishermen but also, seafood processors and dealers, seafood wholesalers and seafood retailers. Saltwater recreational fishing was a close second, supporting more than 500,000 jobs, including fishing guides, equipment retailers, and many other service jobs that support anglers.

If you’re angling for ways to help the economy, grab a rod, your favorite bait, and head out to the nearest pier for a little saltwater fishing… or simply head down to your local seafood market and buy some fish for dinner. Let NOAA’s Fishwatch be your guide to a healthy choice. NOAA logo.