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Report Shows Fishing’s Mainstream Appeal And Broad Economic Impacts

January 22, 2003

One of the most solid industries in the United States is probably one you’d never think of—the sportfishing industry.  According to a new report on fishing statistics published by the American Sportfishing Association, angling has anchored a solid position among Americans’ favorite forms of recreation.

Sportfishing in America:  Values of Our Traditional Pastime shows how fishing endures as a strong and mainstream activity that not only permeates social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a huge role in our country’s successful conservation movement. The full report is available online from the American Sportfishing Association at www.asafishing.org/asa/statistics/saleco_trends/.

“Every time someone goes fishing in Alabama they help create jobs, increasing retail sales and tax revenue right here at home.” said Corky Pugh, Director of the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “Most anglers don’t realize what an important contribution they are making to our economy and way of life. This report shows how far-reaching fishing is.”

Here in Alabama, fishing statistics support the national trend:

  • According to the report, more than 44 million Americans fish, and 851,470 anglers live in Alabama.
  • $858,124,876 in retail sales was generated by Alabama’s anglers, which rippled through the economy to generate $1.7 billion in economic output for the state.
  • The Alabama fishing industry supports nearly 20,000 jobs and those workers earned $412 million in salaries and wages.
  • Fishing-related purchases in Alabama generated $16 million in state tax revenues and $42 million in federal income tax.

America’s 44 million anglers spend nearly $42 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation and lodging, and other expenses associated with their sport. Their expenditures increased 33 percent over the past 10 years.  With a total annual economic impact of $116 billion on the economy, fishing supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $30 billion in wages and $7.3 billion in tax revenues each year.

A number of reports strongly indicate that fishing is identified by American families as one of the best ways to spend quality time together. A recent nationwide Harris poll found that fishing was ranked the most popular outdoor activity in America and was the 4th favorite leisure pastime, behind reading, watching TV, and spending time with family.

Fishing also greatly supports our nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.  Special taxes on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channel hundreds of millions of anglers’ dollars toward state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs each year.

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

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