Marine Recreational Fishing Expenditure Survey

Why conduct the survey?

Timely economic data, important to both NOAA Fisheries and the saltwater angling community, is needed to:

  1. Evaluate the economic importance of the recreational fishing industry.
  2. Evaluate the economic effects of fishing regulations, as well as changes in the ecosystem caused by natural or man-made events.

The survey is designed to estimate the amount of money spent by anglers on saltwater fishing trips and fishing-related equipment. Information collected will provide a better understanding of the economic impacts generated from saltwater recreational fishing across the U.S. and contribute to more informed decisions on recreational fishing issues.

Survey Logistics

The survey is updated every 3 to 5 years. The last survey, conducted in 2011, found that anglers spent over $23 billion on saltwater fishing trips and equipment. These expenditures contributed over $56 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.

The survey is being conducted in two parts:

  1. 2014  —  Part 1: Durable Goods Expenditures

In 2014, we conducted the first part of our survey of saltwater anglers across the nation. We randomly selected anglers in coastal states with saltwater fishing licenses. Selected anglers received a mail survey with questions about their expenditures on durable goods used for saltwater fishing (such as fishing rods, boats, and vehicles) for the previous 12 months.

  1. 2016–2017  —  Part 2: Trip Expenditures

In 2016 and 2017, the survey will focus on trip-related expenditures. Anglers will be asked about their expenses on their most recent fishing trip, such as gas, boat fuel, bait, charter fees, food and lodging. Anglers in states along the Gulf of Mexico, the West Coast, and Alaska will be surveyed in 2016. Anglers in states along the Atlantic Coast will be surveyed in 2017.


Survey–Part 2 began in 2016 

fishing rod and reel

Supporting Materials

*Survey is the same across states except for state name.
**There is a slightly different survey for anglers that hold a federal HMS (highly migratory species) permit.


Sabrina Lovell, Rec. Fisheries Economist   |  301-427-8153