Recreational vs. Commercial Fishing

Written by on May 22, 2013 in Other News
Recreational fishing off southern California.

Recreational fishing off southern California. Photo credit: Brian Chrisney, NOAA.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) released a report this month comparing the economic data of commercial and recreational fishing.

Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Marine Fisheries Services 2011 economic data, the ASA report provides an “apples-to-apples comparison” of recreational and commercial marine fishing. They found that from an economic perspective, recreational fishing is “just as important” as commercial fishing, despite drastic differences in their impact on marine resources.

“The current federal saltwater fisheries management system has historically focused the vast majority of its resources on the commercial sector, when recreational fishing is found to have just as significant an economic impact on jobs and the nation’s economy,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman.

With the Magnuson-Stevens Act up for reauthorization again, Nussman notes that this is a good time to consider the impact of recreational fishing.

“ASA and our partners in the recreational fishing community look forward to working with Congress to develop reasonable legislative solutions that will produce a federal fisheries management system that finally works for, not against, recreational fishing,” he concluded.

Here are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Commercial fishing accounts for 98% of all finfish landings while recreational fishing only accounts for 2%
  • Saltwater landings by recreational anglers contributed three times more to the national GDP than commercial landings
  • Recreational fishing employs more people than commercial fishing — there were 455,000 recreational jobs and 381,000 commercial jobs

You can read the full report here: Comparing NOAA’s Recreational and Commercial Fishing Economic Data, or read the Executive Summary.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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