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Fishing lures by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds that independent bait-and-tackle retail stores contributed $2.3 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 16,000 jobs in 2013, the most-recent year available for study. Of the 944 survey respondents, 35 percent sell bait, tackle, and recreational-fishing equipment exclusively; the other 65 percent—such as marinas and convenience stores—offer additional products or services.

While similar analyses are produced by industry groups, this is the first survey of its kind to be conducted by NOAA, which chose to focus specifically on independent stores. Researchers hope that these findings will serve as a benchmark for studies for years to come despite the exclusion of chain stores.

“This first-time economic assessment of the industry will help managers and regulators better understand the effect that changing conditions have on recreational fisheries and coastal communities,” NOAA scientist Doug Lipton said.