Think You Spend a Lot of Money on Fishing?

Fishing is worth $148 billion a year to US economy

by Craig Ritchie

A new study released by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) proves. According to its newly published 2023 Economic Contributions of Recreational Fishing: U.S. Congressional Districts report, recreational anglers contribute a whopping $148 billion to the US economy every year and support 945,000 jobs across the country.

What's more, anglers contribute an astounding $1.8 billion each year in support of conservation efforts nationwide.

The new figures represent a 15% increase over pre-pandemic data published by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in 2020, which valued the economic impact of fishing at $129 billion per year. That earlier data pegged the number of jobs supported by fishing at 826,000, meaning the 945,000 jobs detailed in the new ASA study represent a 14% gain over just three years.

If you feel like you spend a lot on fishing then you're in good company, with a new study showing anglers contribute more than $148 billion to the US economy each year.
"As Congress debates future legislation that affects our industry, it is important that members of Congress have data to make the best available decision," said ASA vice president of government affairs, Mike Leonard. "This study will help show members of Congress that recreational fishing is an economic driver and job creator in their state or district. We hope that this information drives home the tremendous value sportfishing has to the nation and, therefore, the importance of supporting fisheries conservation and public access."

The new data shows Florida topped all states in economic output generated from fishing at $13.9 billion per year, followed by Texas ($7.7 billion), California ($6.2 billion), Minnesota ($4.2 billion) and Michigan ($3.9 billion).

The top five states in terms of angler numbers as a percentage of the total population were Alaska (64%), Wyoming (58%), South Dakota (48%), Rhode Island (39%) and Oklahoma (37%).

The study was conducted for ASA by Southwick Associates. "While sportfishing provides millions of days of escape and fun across the country, many people do not realize its significant economic contributions," said Southwick Associates president, Rob Southwick. Sportfishing is an economic engine that needs the same level of care and considerations as other critical industries."

Date behind the findings was collected from a variety of sources, he said, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service's National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

Author Craig Ritchie
Craig Ritchie
About the author:
Over a near 40-year career as a full-time outdoor writer, Craig Ritchie has fished all over the globe for a variety of freshwater and saltwater species. The author of The Complete Guide To Getting Started In Fishing, he has written thousands of articles for magazines, websites and newspapers worldwide, appeared as a guest on several television fishing programs and won numerous awards for his writing and photography. He lives in the Great Lakes region where great fishing is as close as his own back yard.

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