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THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013

Updated 2012 Economic Data for Gamefish in HB983

By Brad Gentner

Economic Impact of the Estuarine Striped Bass, Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout Fisheries by Sector: An Update for House Bill 983
Prepared by Gentner Consulting Group, Incorporated
May 28th, 2013
The Fisheries Economic Development Act (HB 983) seeks to create gamefish status for estuarine striped bass, red drum and spotted seatrout in the state of North Carolina and to compensate commercial harvesters for their lost revenue. This bill removes oceanic striped bass from the gamefish designation as proposed in HB 353. This document was produced to update the previous HB 353 fact sheet to show that the removal of oceanic striped bass fishing from consideration and compensating commercial harvesters only strengthens the case for HB 983 and gamefish status for these three important recreational species managed in the public trust.
Table 1 details the economic impacts of the recreational fisheries for these species. Overall anglers in North Carolina took 1.4 million trips that generated $131.4 million in total sales , $42.6 million in income and supported 1,267 jobs in 2012. This is even higher effort and economic impact than the previous report, even with the removal of oceanic striped bass, as red drum and spotted seatrout effort has increased considerably. This has significantly increased the divide between the economic activity generated by each sector.
Table 1. Recreational Impacts, 2012.
Species Trips Expendituresc Jobsd Output (Total Sales)e Incomee
Red Druma 788,814 $44,244,727 701 $72,569,869 $23,648,464
Spotted Seatrouta 746,150 $43,310,947 686 $71,244,325 $23,048,399
Estuarine Striped Bassb 29,246 $1,660,002 26 $2,707,321 $860,647
Totalf 1,402,613 $79,998,867 1,267 $131,384,480 $42,644,377
species. Harvesting contributes less than half of the overall impact supporting 28 jobs and generating $1.6 million in total sales and $498,024 in income. Across harvesters in 2011 less than three fishermen caught more than $10,000 worth of these three species and only six fishermen caught more than $10,000 worth of these three species in 2012 indicating that very few individuals depend on these species to make their living. Summing across all seafood sectors, estuarine striped bass, red drum and spotted seatrout supported 67 jobs and generated $3.3 million in total sales and $1.1 million in income for the state of North Carolina. Almost half of all the jobs in the seafood sector arise out of the retail sector. Because restaurants and markets will readily substitute for other fish species, it is unlikely that passing HB 983 will impact retail or wholesale sectors at all.

Table 2. Economic Activity Generated by the Commercial Seafood Industry from the Net to the Plate. 2012
Sector Jobs Output
(Total Sales) Income
Harvesters 28 $1,580,955 $498,024
Dealers/Processors 5 $357,306 $102,179
Wholesalers/Distributors 2 $173,755 $46,113
Retail 32 $1,147,580 $439,767
Total 67 $3,259,595 $1,086,083

HB 983 will compensate commercial fishermen up to $1 million based on their average harvests across the 2010-2012 period. Since the average landings across this period are $998,064, the commercial harvesting sector will not suffer any negative economic impacts. Table 3 details the impacts of HB 983 after harvester compensation. With compensation, only 38 jobs, $1.7 million in total sales and $588,060 in income across dealers/processors, wholesalers/distributors and retails sectors are potentially at risk. However, in competitive and open markets supply chains will rapidly adjust and substitute to other species and products and it is unlikely that retailers, wholesalers and distributors would realize any loss from the passage of HB 983. If no impacts accrue to these sectors, potential negative impacts should be limited to the dealer/processor sector which includes five jobs, $357,306 in total sales and $102,179 in income.
Table 3. Economic Impacts to the Commercial Seafood Industry, Net to the Plate, from HB 983 After Compensation. 20122
Sector Jobs Output
(Total Sales) Income
Harvesters 0 $0 $0
Dealers/Processors 5 $357,306 $102,179
Wholesalers/Distributors 2 $173,755 $46,113
Retail 32 $1,147,580 $439,767
Total 38 $1,678,640 $588,060

Recreational effort has been shown to increase when catch rates increase for most species that have been studied, including red drum. If recreational effort increases by as little as 0.3%, all potential losses in the dealer/processor sectors would be completely offset. Even if all uncompensated impacts in the wholesale/distributor and retail sectors cannot be reclaimed through normal market function, recreational effort would only need increase 1% to offset all potential impacts. It is not hard to believe that the passage of this bill will increase effort by such a modest amount.
The conclusions from the original comparison do not change overall but are made stronger by this new bill, HB 983. Recreational fishing for these species supports more economic activity than the commercial
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