Fish Radio

May 9, 2014                                           

Commercial vs Recreational Fishing Credit: John Sacktion

Commercial vs Recreational Fishing
Credit: John Sacktion


 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Commercial fishing stomps sport fishing economically. More after this –

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 You can now download ASMI’s quick guide to Alaska seafood on any mobile device. Cooking it, catching it, sustaining it – learn more at


A breakdown of the annual report called ‘Fisheries Economics of the US’ shows once and for all that in terms of value, jobs, sales and income, the commercial sector far outscores recreational fishing.   A breakdown by analyst John Sackton  shows that in 2012 commercial fishing had $140 billion in  sales compared to $58 billion for sports.   For the value added to the national economy, commercial fishing added nearly $60 billion, double the sport sector.

 For jobs, the seafood industry employed 1.27 million people compared to 380,000 for sports anglers. Sackton said the most striking difference is in where those people are employed.  For sport fishing it was building boats and engines that drove the value, representing 82% of both employment and sales and it is highly regionally concentrated..    The NOAA report says less than 20% of the jobs in the sport industry come from guides, boat operators, tackle shops and various rentals.  

 For the commercial industry, the value and jobs created are spread throughout the   country; for the recreational sector, they are concentrated in a few states and industries.  Florida accounted for 30% of all US recreational fishing jobs; add in the Gulf States and N. Carolina and the number jumps to nearly half the national total.

 The economic benefits of the commercial seafood sector also penetrate all parts of the US and the entire economy.  Unlike its sport counterparts, a fisherman in Alaska is in fact supporting dozens of other US jobs in retail, wholesale, distribution and import sectors.

 In short, the NOAA report negates the argument that  recreational fishering has a greater or more direct economic impact than the commercial fishery. Read the ‘Fisheries Economics of the US  

Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.   In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.