Merwin: The Value of Fishing

Over the past 15 years, various studies on the economic effects of fishing have shown that spending by recreational anglers creates massive numbers of jobs and related tax revenues in various locations both here and around the world. To blow our own horn just a bit, an extensive series published by Field&Stream in 1994 (and written by me) on the power of "The Sportsman's Dollar" turned out to be very influential in establishing that recognition.

The latest version comes from Mexico, where studies commissioned by the non-profit Billfish Foundation have shown that sportfishing in the Los Cabos region of Baja California created more than 24,000 area jobs based on anglers (mostly international tourists) spending some $633 million there in 2007.

As a result of those valuations, the Mexican senate now has legislation pending to make marlin, sailfish, swordfish, roosterfish, and dorado exclusively gamefish and not to be sold. So far, area commercial fisheries have taken a heavy toll on those species.

Hopefully, the gamefish designation will succeed. The value of fishing extends far beyond simple recreation.