Improving National Estimates of Inland Recreational Harvest Using State Angler Survey Data

Science Center Objects

Recreational fishing dominates inland fisheries in the United States. In 2016 alone, more than 30.1 million Americans identified as freshwater anglers and spent nearly $30 billion on freshwater fishing trips. While recreational freshwater fishing can be catch-and-release, a large portion is consumptive. In fact, evidence suggests that recreational fisheries yield more than ten times that of com...

Recreational fishing dominates inland fisheries in the United States. In 2016 alone, more than 30.1 million Americans identified as freshwater anglers and spent nearly $30 billion on freshwater fishing trips. While recreational freshwater fishing can be catch-and-release, a large portion is consumptive. In fact, evidence suggests that recreational fisheries yield more than ten times that of commercial fisheries in inland waters.

Currently, the only harvest from U.S. inland waters that is reported to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is commercial harvest from the Great Lakes. Given the importance of recreational fishing, using such a figure to summarize national inland fisheries production is misleading. The goal of this project is to improve national estimates of inland recreational harvest to ensure that the important economic, social, and cultural services provided by inland angling are not discounted. To achieve this goal, researchers will (1) compile angler survey data for inland water bodies from all 50 states; (2) develop a model of recreational harvest; (3) identify ways in which inland harvest might be expected to change as a result of changes in climate and land use; and (4) collaborate with state fisheries managers to help build their understanding of inland angling trends and to standardize national inland fisheries reporting to the FAO.