The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported “positive trends” in fishing throughout the entire U.S., with Alaska staying in the top five of commercial fishing states.
The federal agency said in a statement that U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing saw a 7 percent year-on-year increase in 2012 compared with 2011, with a 3 percent gain in fishing jobs over the same period. “U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $199 billion in sales in 2012
NOAA published the results of two reports, Fisheries Economics of the United States 2012 and the Status of U.S. Fisheries 2013, noting the improved conditions for the countryʼs fisheries.
“These two reports highlight the steady rebuilding of U.S. fisheries and the broad and positive economic impact of commercial and recreational fishing to the nationʼs economy,” Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries, was quoted as saying.
Job increases in fishing have been substantial as well. The economics report said that commercial and recreational fishing supported some 1.7 million jobs in 2012, a nearly 6 percent rise from 2011. “The commercial fishing industry -- harvesters, processors and dealers, and wholesalers and retailers -- generated $141 billion in sales, $39 billion in income, and supported 1.3 million jobs in 2012 in fishing and across the broader economy,” NOAA said.
Alaska was one of the top five states generating the most commercial fishing jobs in 2012. The others were California, Massachusetts, Florida, and Washington. The five top recreational fishing states were Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, and New Jersey.
The reports looked at sustainability as well, noting the rebuilding of fish stocks of Southern Atlantic Coast black sea bass and the Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon as successful campaigns in fish restocks.
Sobeck sees this rebuilding fish stocks as vital to the national purse as well and as proof of the viability of science-based fish management.
“Sustainable management of our fish stocks is critically important to the nationʼs economy,” said Sobeck. “These results demonstrate the strength of the U.S. science- based management model under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.”