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Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor recreation remains vibrant in Florida with recreational fishing, hunting and wildlife-viewing alone generating an economic impact of $10.1 billion annually (See About-Economics).  There is no doubt that the emotional, societal and aesthetic values of a quality environment, healthy fish and wildlife populations, and safe and sustainable recreation exceed our ability to quantify them in dollars, but nonetheless the dollar figures are impressive.

Here is a break down and some links to additional information:

In 2006, the US Census Bureau did a "National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Related Recreation" to determine the amount of participation and economic impact of these outdoor activities nationwide.  The study was conducted under a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is the benchmark for this type economic analysis and allows unbiased state comparisons.  Southwick Associates has provided a summary of the top fishing states in various categories that again justify Florida's status as the Fishing Capital of the World.

Based on the 2006 National Survey, Florida again ranks number one in In-State Anglers (2.8 million vs. #2 Texas with 2.5 million), Angler Expenditures in State ($4.4 billion vs. #2 Texas with $4.3 billion), Angler supported jobs (75,068 vs. #2 Texas with 59,938), State and local taxes generated by sportfishing ($440 million vs. #2 Texas with $392 million).  Of the 2.8 million anglers fishing in Florida, 1.9 million were resident and 0.9 million were non-resident (tourists).  Anglers averaged 17.2 days per year fishing in Florida, for a total of 47.5 million days of quality outdoor recreation.  Of those, 24.4 million days were spent in fresh water by 1.4 million anglers and, 23.1 million days were spent in saltwater by 2.0 million anglers.

Non-Resident anglers spent over $1 billion in direct retail sales in Florida--not mentioning the other dollars they spent on tourism while in Florida.  The next highest state for non-resident angler spending was Wisconsin with less than $0.6 billion  No wonder Florida is the "Fishing Capital of the World."   A further breakdown based on the detailed economic analysis by Southwick and Associates includes the multiplier or ripple effect on the community caused by these sales and visitors.

  • Saltwater Fishing - $5.1 billion, 51,588 jobs
  • Freshwater Fishing - $2.4 billion, 23,480 jobs
  • Total Fishing - $6.1 billion (some anglers don't specify fresh or salt so the total is less than the sum of freshwater and saltwater), 52,945 jobs
  • Generated $358 million in Federal tax revenues
  • Generated $316 million in state and local tax revenues