The saltwater recreational fishing industry is one of the major marine industries served by research, education, and extension programming by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium under its focus area on resilient communities and economies. The economic contributions of saltwater recreational fishing include economic activities generated from saltwater fishing trips and expenditures on fishing-related durable equipment. These economic indicators provide the benchmarks in estimating the marginal economic effects of MASGC programs directed toward saltwater recreational fishing.
Total economic contributions are the sum of direct, indirect and induced effects. The economic activities in the industry in which the expenditures were initially made are classified as direct effects. Indirect effects result from changes in the economic activity of other industrial sectors which supply goods or services to the industry being evaluated. Induced effects are the outcome of personal consumption expenditures by industry employees.
NOAA Fisheries started reporting the economic contributions of saltwater recreational fishing since 2006. Figure 1 shows the annual estimates of the economic contributions of saltwater recreational fishing in Mississippi and Alabama. The prolonged stagnation of the level of economic activities demonstrate the adverse effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Great Recession in 2008 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The combined economic contributions of saltwater recreational fishing in Mississippi and Alabama rose to $2.1 billion in 2015 from $1.4 billion the previous year. Mississippi reached its highest level in 2015 at $710.3 million while Alabama achieved the peak in 2015 at $1.4 billion.
The three saltwater recreational fishing modes include charter boats-for-hire, private boats and shore fishing. Recently, the expenditures on durable fishing-related equipment contributed $1.9 billion to the regional economy. The charter boats-for-hire added $77.5 million to the economic activities in the bi-state region. Shore saltwater recreational fishing contributed $94.4 million to the two-state regional economy. And, saltwater sportfishing in private boats created $73.4 million economic activities in the Mississippi and Alabama.
Saltwater sportfishing in the two-state region involved anglers from coastal counties, non-coastal counties and out-of-state counties. Figure 2 shows the number of saltwater recreational anglers in the bi-state region by location since 1999. The rise and fall of the number of saltwater recreational anglers show similar impacts of recent natural disasters and the Great Recession.