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NOAA FISHERIES: Office of Science and Technology
Directorate | Fisheries Statistics | Assessment & Monitoring | Economics & Social Analysis | Science Information | Marine EcoSystems

Recreational Fisheries Economics

Since 1994, NMFS has collected economic and human dimensions data from anglers every year using the MRFSS sampling frame. Economic and human dimensions data are used to accurately illustrate the impact of management policies. When paired with catch and biomass data, this information forms the core components of most regulatory and allocation decisions. NMFS' recreational economics program assists in the decision-making process by providing managers with informative analyses of these data. NMFS continues to seek new ways to enhance data collection efforts and provide new analyses that meet management needs. Below is a summary of the primary types of analyses produced from these surveys.
Economic Impacts

Economic impacts are measured to determine the economic activity generated by recreational fishing. We begin by collecting angler expenditures during their fishing trips and also their spending on durable goods throughout the year. Survey instruments can be found here and expenditure estimates can be found here.

Economic Value

Economic value determines the benefits of recreational fishing to society and how those benefits change when policies or fishing quality changes. There are two types of valuation data we collect: revealed preference and stated preference.

Revealed preference surveys use observed recreational choices to model economic value. Revealed preference data elements are collected when any economic add-on is conducted and are excellent for assessing the value of access, natural resource damage assessment, and measuring the benefits of improving fishing quality. Our revealed preference survey instruments can be found here.

Stated preference surveys present anglers with hypothetical scenarios to gain insights into recreational behavior and value that cannot be obtained through revealed preference surveys. and our stated preference survey instruments can be found here.

Assessment of Management Options

These surveys determine anglers’ preferences for management options. These models allow managers to rapidly assess changes in effort, value, and economic impacts from changes in recreational policies. Our goal is to cover the top ten recreational species in each region with a stated preference choice experiment (SPCE) as soon as is practical. SPCE surveys can be found here.

For-hire Cost and Earnings

Cost and earnings surveys collect financial information from the for-hire recreational fleet including charter, guide, and head boats. This information is used to determine the economic value of this sector and to build better economic impact models. Cost and earnings surveys can be found here.

Special Studies

These surveys are used to address the economic data needs of regional management issues as these issues arise. Special studies include surveys on participation, subsistence fishing, and on-water fishing location choice. These surveys can be found here.


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