NMFS seeks more information on recreational fishing impacts

The National Marine Fisheries Service is working to improve its data on the impacts of recreational fishing. The agency recently announced corrections to its “Fisheries Economics of the United States 2012” report.

The report, which was released this spring, aims to compare recreational and commercial fishing values throughout the country.

At the time it was released, commercial seafood imports were included. Now, the impacts of imported seafood can be sorted out of the commercial impacts, providing a more realistic comparison, according to the agency.

In Alaska, the value of commercial fishing continues to outweigh the value of marine recreational fishing despite the change, but that wasn’t the case elsewhere in the nation.

Nationally, the change shows an overall decline in the value of commercial fisheries in 2012, and that marine recreational fisheries were worth $7.9 billion more than commercial fisheries.

In Alaska, according to the basic query of seafood industry impacts, in 2012 there were 55,390 jobs from commercial fishing in 2012, with $1.76 billion in income impacts, $4.17 billion in sales impacts and $2.2 billion in value-added impacts. Including imports in the data set boosts those numbers slightly.

The agency’s information cautions that the impact numbers cannot be added.

According to the website, marine recreational fishing generated 4,824 jobs, $213 million in income impacts, $558 million in sales impacts and $337 million in value-added impacts, in Alaska in 2012.

Now, NMFS also is working to collect more information on recreational fisheries — and also provide more information to anglers.

NMFS is soliciting more information on the recreational fishing sector this summer via a survey of bait and tackle stores conducted throughout the country, including in Alaska.

According to NMFS public affairs specialist Jerry Slaff, the survey will be sent to more than 769 business in Alaska, and 5,600 nationwide.

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