Florida’s outdoors has positive impact on people and economy
As I See It
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Media contact: Rodney Barreto
Florida attracts people who enjoy the outdoors: anglers trying
to lure the big one, birdwatchers waiting in silence, kids trying
to catch a glimpse of everything from manatees and alligators to
Mickey Mouse, retirees who saved a lifetime to come down, and
people from all walks of life wanting to enjoy our warm rays and
vast outdoor recreational opportunities.
Our state is known for hosting millions of visitors each year -
some 41 million, to be exact.
We are lucky to live in a state that affords us the opportunity
to enjoy the outdoors most months of the year. Just ask those
visiting from the North. Where else can you experience temperatures
in the 80s in the middle of February? While it is no secret
that Florida has diverse recreational resources, what you might not
know about the fiscal impact of fishing, hunting and wildlife
viewing in Florida could surprise you.
Fish and wildlife contribute to Florida's tourism industry. Each
year, $20 billion and 250,000 jobs come directly from fish and
wildlife in the state, and an additional $18 billion and another
200,000 jobs are the indirect benefit of boating in state
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
oversees these waterways and protects fishing and hunting resources
for this generation and beyond. Those of us who work for the FWC
are thankful that we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor while
positively impacting others by creating jobs and revenue.
In fiscal year 2011-12 alone, the combined revenue from
recreational fishing license sales and federal aid through the
Sport Fish Restoration Program is projected to be $45,229,260. In
today's economy, where Florida families are doing more with less, I
am proud that the FWC does its part every year to contribute to the
state's economy in a winning way.
Wildlife viewing is a significant economic engine in Florida,
accounting for $5.6 billion and 51,367 jobs of the $20 billion and
250,000 jobs noted earlier. The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife
Trail represents only one aspect of wildlife viewing enjoyed by
residents and visitors alike. The FWC partnered with the Wildlife
Foundation of Florida and the Florida Department of Transportation
to create this network of 500 birding sites and 2,000 miles of
self-guided highway trails throughout Florida.
During the February FWC Commission meeting in Apalachicola, my
fellow commissioners and I experienced first-hand the impact of
fishing and its role in the economy of the quaint fishing
community. We heard from residents and business owners as we
conducted our meetings, toured an oyster-processing company
alongside Gov. Rick Scott and enjoyed lunch from the local bounty.
The community depends on the marine life in its estuaries and Gulf
Apalachicola is a piece of Florida locked away in time, guided
by the traditions of years past. It rejuvenates us and reminds us
of the importance of what we do at the FWC. We take our
responsibilities to heart as we consider those who enjoy what
Florida has to offer and those who make a living from its