The State of Massachusetts in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries (National Marine Fisheries Service) recently initiated a study in which 700 saltwater anglers were offered cash in exchange for giving up the right to fish. Licensed anglers who accept the offer will receive up to $500 after giving up their fishing license and all rights to fish in state coastal waters in 2012.
While NMMA commends NOAA Fisheries for collecting important data on the perceived value of recreational fishing, NMMA cannot support programs that discourage anglers from enjoying time on the water. While it is important to assess the value of recreational fishing, paying anglers to give up their right to fish simply is not the best way to gain this information.
Data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notes that in 2006, Massachusetts consumers spent $494.6 million on saltwater fishing tackle alone. There are approximately 298,000 saltwater anglers in the state of Massachusetts.
NMMA President Thom Dammrich says, “Now more than ever, it is important to spur economic growth in America and in the recreational boating and fishing communicates. NMMA will continue to support programs that actively encourage consumers to participate in on-water recreation through boating and fishing.”