Marine Recreational Anglers are Catching and Releasing More Fish

October 22, 2004

Marine recreational anglers have been catching more fish in recent years, but they are also releasing their catch more often, according to new data included in a report by NOAA Fisheries.

Marine recreational fishing supported nearly 350,000 jobs and generated $30.5 billion in economic impact to the nation according to a 2004 NOAA Fisheries report, “The Economic Importance of Marine Angler Expenditures in the United States.”

Another 2004 report, “Fisheries of the United States,” showed that the 10-year trend for fish caught recreationally is up by 11 percent since 1994. However, the number of fish the anglers actually keep has remained flat, showing no significant growth over the past decade.

Of the 10 most popular recreational species, the majority of fish (60 percent on average) are released alive. The report identified anglers’ top catches as spotted sea trout, Atlantic croaker, summer flounder and striped bass.

Top 10 Most Popular Recreational Fish
(ranked by total catch in millions of fish)

Top 10 Species
Total Catch
Total Harvest
% of Fish Released
Spotted Seatrout
32.8
10.5
68%
Atlantic Croaker
26.5
11.5
57%
Summer Flounder
20.6
4.6
78%
Striped Bass
17.4
2.5
86%
Black Sea Bass
15.7
4
74%
Bluefish
15.7
6.2
60%
Scup
14.7
9.5
35%
Spot
12.5
9.3
26%
Red Drum
10.6
3.2
70%
Kingfishes
10
5.7
43%

Both reports are available on the NOAA Fisheries Statistics web site: www.st.nmfs.gov/st1/index.html or by contacting the Recreational Fisheries Services Branch in the Office of Constituent Services at forbes.darby@noaa.gov or (301) 713-2379 x127

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