NOAA releases 2015 Fisheries Economics report; 253,000 jobs are good for the Gulf

by / Newsroom Ink on May 10, 2017

From NOAA reports
(GULF OF MEXICO, USA) — NOAA released two annual reports yesterday highlighting the economic success of our nation’s fisheries and the progress toward ending overfishing, rebuilding historically overfished stocks, and helping fishermen, fish farmers, and fishing communities succeed.

Each report, the 2015 Fisheries Economics of the U.S. (FEUS) report and supporting materials, and the annual Status of U.S. Fisheries (2016) report to Congress, are available online here.

The 2016 Status of U.S. Fisheries reflects each region’s continued progress in rebuilding stocks. It reports that the number of stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists remain near all-time lows, while two stocks were rebuilt: albacore in the North Atlantic, and barndoor skate in Southern New England/George’s Bank. This brings the total stocks rebuilt since 2000 to 41. The Gulf of Mexico is highlighted for three overfished species: greater amberjack, gray triggerfish and red snapper.

Meanwhile, the FEUS report illustrates the value of U.S. fisheries represent to the economy with commercial and recreational fishing generating $200 billion in sales, contributing $97 billion to the gross domestic product, and supporting 1.6 million full-and part-time jobs. These 2015 figures are very close to the record-setting year the U.S. had in 2014, and reflect an overall positive trend in economic impacts between 2011 and 2015.

Across the Gulf of Mexico, commercial fishing resulted in excess of 146,000 jobs, which captured more than $21.5 billion in sales of domestically caught and imported seafood. Nearly half of those jobs (74,296) were based in Florida, which generated the largest employment impact of all states. Home to more coastal cities and more than three times the coastline than the next biggest Texas, Florida had the largest income impacts ($3.3 billion), sales impacts ($17.7 billion), and value-added impacts ($5.9 billion) of any Gulf state.

Additionally, jobs related to the recreational sector exceeded 107,000 across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and western Florida, representing 19.7 million individual trips and $12 billion in direct commerce.

Such sales in both sectors are significant since every dollar spent in a regional economy (direct impact) is either saved or respent on additional goods or services. If those dollars are respent on other goods and services in the regional economy, this spending generates additional economic activity in the region.

In 2015, commercial fishermen in the Gulf Region landed 1.6 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish, a 25% increase from 2014. Landings volume was highest in Louisiana (1 billion pounds), followed by Mississippi (306 million pounds). Menhaden had the highest landings volume in the Gulf of Mexico Region, accounting for 76% of landed weight.

From 2014 to 2015, menhaden (40%), red snapper (18%), and spiny lobster (10%) had the largest landings increases, while crawfish (-58%), mullets (-29%), and tunas (-24%) had the largest decreases. Key Gulf of Mexico commercial species include: Blue crab, Crawfish, Groupers, Menhaden, Mullets, Oysters
, Red snapper, Shrimp
, Spiny lobster and Tunas.

In other metrics, landings revenue in the Gulf Region totaled $858 million in 2015, an 18% decrease from 2014. Landings revenue was highest in Louisiana ($374 million) followed by West Florida ($192 million). Shellfish landings revenue made up 71% of total revenue. Shrimp ($348 million) and menhaden ($139 million) had the highest landings revenue in the Gulf of Mexico Region in 2015. Together they accounted for 57% of total landings revenue.

A complete overview of the Gulf of Mexico’s seafood industry is published on pages 167-188 of the FEUS report.

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