2.7 Million Sharks Caught By U.S. Recreational Fishermen in 2011

 Note by Shark Year Magazine :

Yesterday, the NOAA has issued a press release regarding their new report ‘ Fisheries Economics of the United States 2011’ . Below is the text of the news release, including the link to download a PDF of the full report.

 Here are some shark-related findings :

– Sharks are considered as a key species in the United States recreational fisheries which generated $70 billion in sales impacts and $20 billion in income impacts in 2011.

– In the year 2011, almost 2.7 million sharks were caught by recreational fishermen nationwide.

–  Sharks represent the species group that was most commonly released (96% released).

– In numbers: 104.000 sharks were harvested (killed) and 2.574.000 sharks were released in recreational fisheries.

– From 2010 to 2011, the largest recreational catch decrease occurred in sharks ( 36% ).



News Release


07. March 2013


NOAA report finds commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated $199 billion in 2011

U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $199 billion in sales and supported 1.7 million jobs in the nation’s economy in 2011, according to a new economic report released by NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

The report, Fisheries Economics of the United States 2011, is published annually on a two-year lag to allow data collection, analysis, and peer review. It provides economic statistics on U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries and marine-related businesses for each coastal state and the nation. Key to the report are the economic effects–jobs, sales, income, and value added to Gross National Product–of the commercial and recreational fishing industries. “Economic impact” measures how sales in each sector ripple throughout the state and national economy as each dollar spent generates additional sales by other firms and consumers.

The seafood industry—harvesters, seafood processors and dealers, seafood wholesalers and retailers—generated $129 billion in sales impacts, $37 billion in income impacts and supported 1.2 million jobs in 2011, the most recent year included in the report. Recreational fishing generated $70 billion in sales impacts, $20 billion in income impacts, and supported 455,000 jobs in 2011. Compared to 2010, the numbers are up for all of these impacts except commercial seafood sales.

“Commercial and recreational fishing are integral parts of the nation’s social and economic fabric,” said Sam Rauch, deputy assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “While there’s still work to do, to see landings and value climb in 2011 shows we’re moving in the right direction, even in this time of challenging transition for many fishing communities.”

The annual report also breaks down the sales impacts, income impacts and job figures for each coastal state. The five states that generated the most jobs from fishing in 2011 were California, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington, and Alaska. The states with the most growth in the number of commercial fishing jobs compared to 2010 were Alabama (76 percent, net increase of 4,743 jobs), Mississippi (45 percent, net increase of 1,722 jobs), Oregon (32 percent, net increase of 4,483 jobs), Louisiana (29 percent, net increase of 7,272 jobs), and Alaska (17 percent, net increase of 9,288 jobs).

The greatest portion of the nation’s landings revenue generated by the commercial fishing industry was in Alaska ($1.9 billion), followed by Massachusetts ($433 million), and Maine ($381 million).

Saltwater recreational fishing generated its highest economic effect in sales impacts and jobs in West Florida ($4.9 billion sales, 47,000 jobs) East Florida ($3.3 billion sales, 29,000 jobs); Louisiana ($2 billion sales, 18,000 jobs); North Carolina ($2 billion sales, 18,000 jobs); Texas ($1.9 billion sales, 15,000 jobs); and New Jersey (1.7 billion sales, 10,000 jobs).

Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2011 includes descriptive statistics on commercial fish landings, revenue, and price trends; recreational fishing effort, catch, and participation rates; and employer and non-employer establishments, annual payroll, and annual receipt information for fishing-related industries such as seafood retailers and ship and boat building. The report also provides a snapshot of fishery management plans, limited access privilege fishing programs (a type of catch share program), buyback programs, as well as the status of fish stocks and an inventory of protected marine resources.

The report is the sixth volume in an annual series designed to give the public accessible economic information on fishing activities in the U.S., and is a companion to Fisheries of the United States.

Fisheries Economics of the United States 2011 is available online HERE ( PDF ).

Source: NOAA




  1. Angel

    If only US reported recreational shark catch is 2,7 million (most private boat owners catching sharks, do not report anything), the estimated 100 million shark catch a year globally is very low. 
    If there is (with rod and reel) 2,7 million (reported) shark catch only in US. Think about all commercial long lines, nets and shark targeted commercial fishing all around the globe.
    We may easily think 2 to 3 times more than the estimated 100 million shark catch annually is actually taking place if not more. This is dynamite. 

    • JamesC

      In terms of the recreational shark catch, might these statistics be a little misleading? Of the 2.7m caught, if 2.574m were released (as reported), there is potentially some double counting. Also, surely only 104k would contribute to the figures for number of sharks killed each year globally. I appreciate that, due to the vast numbers caught illegally, not reported, etc, it is near impossible to reach a more accurate figure.

      • Angel

        There are 2 points that are interesting.
        I doubt the NOAA data is wrong. The unreported private boat catch may be 2 times or more than the recreational commercial charter boats. The number of private boats that do fish is more than 10 times the charter boats easily. The real catch numbers should be a lot higher if you include unreported ones even without adding the illegal shark catch. SO the number of killed sharks are a lot higher as well. But this was not the point I was trying to make. I wanted to show that if only with rod and reel this much can be fished out, with pro equipment and targeted fishing a lot more can be fished. I can estimate close to a million pro boats fishing around the globe from all nations. (over 250,000 just for the small Med Sea). Even one accidental catch every second day for these boats, if these boats operate 6 months only in a year will total to 180 days / 2 = 90 x 1,000,000 = 90,000,000 accidental catch. What about the targeted fishing ? Illegal shark fishing ?   If you sum the numbers up it is dynamite. If only recreational fishing is reported 2,7 million, only in US. The recreational may use catch and release but the pro catch does not.
        Also the landed some over hundred thousand species actually does not show the reality. One, the private boat number is not there, 2 We have no idea about the real survival rates of sharks being released other than a few studies. The actual data is insufficient. The big sharks fight a lot, the fighting time period, the injury the shark sustained, the tackle etc.are all variables. So we can not assume that all released sharks have survived.

  2. Angel

    From the same report…

    From 2010 to 2011, decreases occurred in the recreational
    catch of sharks, summer flounder, and large Atlantic tuna. Of
    these, the largest decreases occurred in sharks (36%), large
    Atlantic tuna (24%), and summer flounder (9%). The largest
    increase observed for this time period was for seatrout, which
    experienced a 25% increase.
    Marine Economy1

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