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The Value of The Recreational Fishery

Printed From: North Carolina Waterman
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Forum Name: Fisheries Issues/Fisheries Politics/Fisheries Government.
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Printed Date: 21 March 2019 at 4:37pm
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Topic: The Value of The Recreational Fishery
Posted By: Rick
Subject: The Value of The Recreational Fishery
Date Posted: 10 July 2018 at 12:32pm
A 2010 NCDMF report, A SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC SURVEY OF RECREATIONAL SALTWATER ANGLERS IN NORTH CAROLINA, by Scott Crosson, Ph.D. found that in 2008-" rel="nofollow -

The impact of saltwater fishing trips on North Carolina’s economy for 2008 is shown in Table 7.  The DMF collects data about recreational fishing in conjunction with the federal government’s Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS).5  Multiplying the trip count estimates6 for various fishing modes from 2008 with the average estimated expenditures for each of those modes in Table 6, and the mean reported costs of charter and pier fees, the total expenditures are estimated at $943,929,472 for 7,093,359 trips.7

These numbers are comparable to the most recent economic impact estimates from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s published The Economic Contribution of Marine Angler Expenditures in the United States 2006. That report estimated the total sales impact of trip related expenses in North Carolina at $947,097,000 for 7,247,000 trips.  In this report, we estimated a total sales impact of $943,929,472.  The NMFS report estimated average expenditures at $98/trip.8  Comparable numbers for this report are estimated at $133/trip.  Average trip expenditures likely differed due the different time periods during which the two surveys were conducted (NMFS-2006, DMF-2008).  
Using these data, the total economic effects (output) from recreational angling in North Carolina are estimated at over $1.6B (Table 7).

The estimated $1.6 billion economic impact attributed to recreational fishing trip expenditures is a significant contribution to the coastal economy, particularly during a time when other economic engines such as development have declined.

NOAA released the revised recreational statistics yesterday-" rel="nofollow -

Today, NOAA Fisheries released revised Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) catch and effort estimates (1981-2017) as part of its recent transition from the Coastal Household Telephone Survey (CHTS) to the new, mail-based Fishing Effort Survey (FES). The agency also released preliminary estimates based on the FES for 2018 wave 1 (Jan. – Feb.). The release of the revised estimates marks an important milestone in our scientific program’s efforts to improve recreational catch and effort data

So...What do NC recreational trips look like with the new and improved data?

You can do your own querying here-" rel="nofollow -  

Below is the revised angler trip data showing recreational effort-

The recreational total economic value (number of trips) is 3X to 5X what was originally thought!

The NC recreational fishery is worth $5 to $8 BILLION!

...and DMF can't put a Fiscal Note value on the benefit of the NCWF Petition for Rule Making to the recreational sector because of the "unknowns"!

Hell....let's say it protects just 1% of the recreational value by creating a sustainable shrimp trawl fishery that protects the critical habitat nursery areas for juvenile spot, croaker, weakfish, southern flounder, summer flounder, bluecrab, oysters, etc.

A highly conservative 1% benefit =  $50 to $80 million dollars.

There, I did it for them and can't be far off the absolute bottom of the LOWSIDE!

NC Fisheries Management- Motto: Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad   Slogan: Shrimp On! Mission Statement: Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource.

Posted By: Rick
Date Posted: 11 July 2018 at 11:52am
So, let's look at a subset of the data above- coastal fishing piers.

Boy do I remember fishing with my father and grandfather on the Emerald Isle Fishing Pier back in the early 1960s. 

In the 2012 NCDMF report,  A Social and Economic Profile of Ocean Fishing Piers in North Carolina, DMF employee John Hadley found that NC Ocean Fishing Piers created an annual economic impact of $152-million." rel="nofollow -

The total estimated economic impact to the state economy of ocean pier fishing trips is approximately $151.7 million.  This fishing activity supported 1,746 jobs and led to over $48 million in labor income.  According to the model, the industries most affected were lodging, amusement and recreation, food and beverage, gasoline, real estate, sporting goods, wholesale trade and commercial fishing (bait).      This estimate is based on the total number of ocean pier trips taken in 2010 and the average expenditures per fishing trip obtained from the survey.  The Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) estimates coastal recreational fishing effort throughout the year in North Carolina.  According to MRIP data, in 2010 anglers took 1,186,293 ocean pier fishing trips.  This led to $138,855,638 in estimated total trip expenditures.

This old photo shows the economic benefit of a strong "spot run" on a central coast fishing pier-


The lowly and "ubiquitous" Spot! 

Spot was not included in NC's nursery area classification studies.  Juvenile abundance of spot was considered so "ubiquitous" in the 1970s and early 1980s during designation of critical habitat nursery areas that inclusion would have "designated all internal waters as important nursery areas".

“Spot was omitted because it is so ubiquitous in the nursery areas of the Pamlico Sound estuarine complex that its value in creating station groupings was minimal.”  Classification of Pamlico Sound Nursery Areas:  Recommendations for Critical Habitat Criteria- Project No. 89-09, Elizabeth B. Noble and Dr. Robert J. Monroe, NC Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, February 1991

What did the Hadley study find as one of the two most important species to pier profitability?
Additionally, the top five species that anglers indicated targeting off of ocean piers were spot, bluefish, flounder, Spanish mackerel and sea mullet.  This closely matches the species that pier operators felt were most important to their business, which were spot and sea mullet, followed by bluefish, flounder and king mackerel.

What did Handley's research show was the greatest concern of ocean pier anglers?
Overfishing was of great concern to both parties, as it was often expressed that recent runs of certain commonly targeted species were not as strong as they had been historically.  The most common species mentioned was spot, where anglers often said that both size and quantity have diminished.

What was the conclusion of Hadley's study?
Continued preservation and expansion of coastal fish stocks is also vital to the long term sustainability of ocean pier businesses.  The estimated $151.7 million economic impact that can be attributed to ocean fishing piers is a sizable and noteworthy contribution to the state economy of North Carolina.  These impacts are largely felt in coastal communities, which is particularly important during a time when other economic engines such as real estate and development have slowed.  With the majority of respondents indicating that the sole purpose of their trip to the coast was to go pier fishing, it is clear that these fishing sites represent an important draw to coastal communities and serve as popular sources of recreation for anglers of all ages and backgrounds. 

The graph below shows recreational angler Spot landings in NC.  We have lost this fishery! 

Commercial landings confirm the demise of Spot-

What doesn't NCDMF get?

Today, why can't NCDMF look at their own studies and data to determine the potential long-term value of recovered recreational fisheries when they could value those fisheries in 2010 and 2012?

What is blindly obvious and missing within the NCWF Petition for Rule Making draft fiscal note's 171-pages of listed "unknowns", cherry-picked studies and obfuscations are two very simple facts.!286&ithint=file%2cdocx&app=Word&authkey=!ADXaX7xr0g2OsCw" rel="nofollow -!286&ithint=file%2cdocx&app=Word&authkey=!ADXaX7xr0g2OsCw

1- These fisheries, if rebuilt, are worth $100s of millions of dollars to the citizens of NC and our coastal communities.

2- If spot, croaker and weakfish were assessed at the state level, reducing juvenile discards in the shrimp trawl fishery is the only place you are going to get any meaningful reductions in total catch- targeted landings + discards in the directed and non-directed (bycatch) fisheries. The populations of all three species, all with truncated age structures, have fallen such that targeted commercial fisheries are a small fraction of the past, or closed.

The Fiscal Draft obfuscated about natural mortality from spiny dogfish, striped bass and bottlenose dolphin predation, population shift due to the multidecadal oscillation and the benefit of plowing our state's undesignated critical habitat estuarine nursery bottoms. 

Truly, where are you going to get any reductions needed for re-building these stocks if not by reducing non-directed discards (bycatch) in the shrimp trawl fishery?

The latest stock assessments for both Croaker (2017) and Spot (2017) found-

The majority of annual removals for Atlantic Croaker were discards from the shrimp trawl fishery... Annual discards from the shrimp trawl fishery ranged from 82,040 to 513,801 metric tons with a long term mean of 179,873 metric tons.  Shrimp trawl bycatch accounted for 81‐99% of annual Atlantic croaker removals and averaged 91.6% of all removals

All major sources of removals of Spot were thoroughly described including: discards in the shrimp trawl fisheries, commercial landings, and recreational harvest.  Discards from the shrimp trawl  fisheries accounted for 31-70%  of annual removals, commercial landings for 10-40% most years, while recreational harvest typically 
accounted for approximately 10% each year.  The remaining sources of fishery removals were typically 5% or less of total
annual removals over the last 20+ years (e.g., scrap fishery).

You surely are not going to get the reductions needed for recovery from the directed commercial fisheries.  Those fisheries are suffering from years of mismanagement.

NC Fisheries Management- Motto: Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad   Slogan: Shrimp On! Mission Statement: Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource.

Posted By: 23Mako
Date Posted: 11 July 2018 at 4:24pm
I don't think the Good Lord created a finer fish than a spot. Good eating, plentiful (or used to be), and super fun to catch eating some nabs and drinking an ice cold coke. 

Posted By: TomM
Date Posted: 11 July 2018 at 9:25pm
Big yellow bellys has a buttery taste

Posted By: kshivar
Date Posted: 12 July 2018 at 9:10am
Great memories of spot runs. My grandson will have to settle for pinfish. Keep shrimping boys. You’ll eventually get all of them too.

Posted By: themoose
Date Posted: 12 July 2018 at 12:29pm
The problem is... the value of the recreational fishery is distributed across a lot of people, who don't see the immediate financial impact of catching fish (ie: one fish = one dollar). It is harder to quantify and doesn't cause the direct visceral feeling that confirms it... While the commercial fisherman can clearly demonstrate that relationship (the more he catches, the more money he generates for himself and the economy).

This means that the rec market is fragmented, and less likely to donate to the politicians who manage the fishery than the commercial group. They are more focused, and play the donation and political game directly.

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