Economic Value Of Recreational Fishing On Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 8:00 AM
Manning (The Marriott Little Rock)
Christopher McKee , Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Terry Hanson , Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Steven M. Sammons , Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Recreational fishing in Alabama is a major source of revenue to communities surrounding popular fishing destinations as well as a source of tax revenue to local, state and regional governments.  Statewide economic data on recreational angling allow fishery managers and administrators to recognize the broad economic impacts of recreational fishing.  However, more specific economic data on individual water bodies and targeted fish species are helpful to administrators and managers for proper characterization of the fisheries under their purview.  We estimated the economic impact of recreational fishing expenditures and tax revenues generated by the four major recreational fisheries (black bass, crappie, catfish, and sunfish) at Lake Guntersville, Alabama to the local towns, counties, and State.  We also estimate the recreational angling effort, catch, and harvest rates for each of the four major sport fisheries. During this twelve month study we estimate Lake Guntersville received 1.29 million hours of recreational angling effort by boat anglers and 55,000 hours of effort by bank anglers, which translates into over 200,000 angler fishing days and approximately $13.4 million in direct related expenditures.  Of this effort, 66% of anglers targeted black bass, 19% crappie, 6% sunfish, 3% catfish, and 5% were fishing for anything or other fish.  Forty-two percent of the anglers that fished Guntersville were residents of the three counties surrounding the reservoir, 27% were nonlocal Alabama residents, 15% were from border-states, and 16% were from non-border states.  Data collected during this project will be valuable to policymakers in justifying their management of recreational fisheries, resolving user conflicts, and aiding in promoting Lake Guntersville as a significant recreational fishery to the state.