Socioeconomic benefits of recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishing associated with national forests
The socioeconomic benefits of recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishing associated with lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service are substantial and are expected to increase over time. Recreational fishing on national forests and grasslands generate over US$2.2 billion annually through fishing equipment, boats, travel, outfitter and guiding services, fuel, and licenses, which in turn provide critical funding for fisheries habitat management and conservation by federal and state agencies. The sustainable nature of recreational fishing by the public complements the agency’s multiple use mandate to conserve fish and aquatic resources, which include a high percentage of the nation’s threatened, endangered, and sensitive fish and aquatic species. National forests in the Pacific Northwest and the western USA, particularly Alaska, support significant commercial and subsistence salmon fisheries. A growing restoration economy associated with fisheries habitat and watershed restoration contributes to local economies. Although more difficult to quantify, important social and cultural benefits of fishing are provided to the public nationwide, including connecting the public to the outdoors and to public lands. Managing fisheries habitat and watershed health amid competing demands for water, natural resources, and outdoor recreation will continue to challenge the U.S. Forest Service and its partners into the future.