The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) and NOAA have begun the process of surveying saltwater anglers across the Gulf of Mexico in order to update and improve estimates of the overall economic contributions of saltwater recreational fishing to the Gulf and U.S. economy. The study is part of the 2011 National Marine Recreational Fishing Expenditure Survey.
The data will help NOAA, GSMFC, and the saltwater angling community to evaluate the economic importance of recreational fishing activities. The data will give a more updated look at the economic effects of fishing regulations and changes in the ecosystem caused by natural or manmade events such as the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
During the survey, NOAA and the GSMFC will randomly sample a cross section of roughly 3 million saltwater anglers in the five Gulf states and Puerto Rico. The survey will include people who fish from shore, docks, party or charter boats and privately owned boats.
Surveys began in January and will continue throughout the year in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. It will begin in Texas in March and April. This is NOAA’s and GSMFC’s second survey focusing on how much saltwater anglers spend on their sport throughout the Gulf region.
Anglers will be asked about how long their fishing trips last and how much they spend on bait, boat fuel, ice, charter fees and other expenses. Anglers will also be asked to participate in a follow-up survey that will ask them to estimate what they spent on durable goods such as boats and fishing tackle used for saltwater angling for the previous 12 months.
The survey is being conducted by economists from NOAA and the GSMFC as well as state partners. Once collected, the economic data will be analyzed and released as a NOAA report.
The previous economic study from 2008 showed that anglers’ expenditures generated more than $12 billion in sales and supported more than 113,000 jobs in the Gulf region.