The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continues to ignore the economic value of recreational fishing, and, as a consequence of that, it likely will continue to ignore/undervalue it in its management decisions for species such as Gulf of Mexico red snapper. And that will translate into allocations that unfairly restrict recreational fishing.The following is a commentary from Jeff Angers at the Center for Coastal Conservation about that federal favoritism for commercial fishing:
"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its annual “Fisheries of the United States” report this week — but once again, when it comes to the economic value of recreational fishing, NOAA entirely missed the boat (excuse the pun).
"That’s because NOAA’s report overlooks the economic impact of recreational fishing entirely — just like last year (and for two years before).
"According to NOAA, commercial fishing generated $5.4 billion in revenues last year. That’s great for our economy and for the commercial fishing sector — as far as it goes.
"But what about the economic contribution of recreational fishing?
"Nada, zero, zip. At least according to the bureaucrats at NOAA.
"It’s as if recreational fishing doesn’t even happen.
"The last time NOAA even looked at the value of recreational fishing, back in 2011, it estimated the economic value at $23.4 billion. For the arithmetically challenged, that’s more than four times the contribution of the commercial sector — and that’s based on 2011 numbers.
"NOAA’s fisheries report is emblematic of the bigger problem in Washington, DC: a tendency to underplay and under-appreciate the much greater economic impact of recreational fishing.
"When Congress reauthorizes the Magnuson-Stevens Act, let’s make sure the real story gets told: just taking into account the agency’s 2011 estimates, the $23.4 billion annual economic contribution of recreational fishing dwarfs the $5.4 billion now being touted by NOAA as the value of the commercial sector.
"Federal fisheries policy ought to reflect that fact — not ignore it."