A Florida TaxWatch industry report
Fishing in Florida: A $5 billion dollar business
The economic impact fishing has on Florida.
Sportsmen Pay for Conservation
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), Florida generated $9.4 million dollars in freshwater licenses, and $26.8 million dollars in saltwater licenses in FY2011-12.3
About 30 percent of the freshwater license revenues and about 46 percent saltwater license revenues were collected from non-residents. The revenue generated from these licenses is vital for the conservation of Florida fisheries, as it ensures continued success of this industry in our state by keeping fish populations at sustainable levels.
Nationally, there is a federal excise tax on fishing gear, boats and boat fuel that contributes $390 million annually to the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund for conservation efforts around the U.S. Anglers also donate more than $400 million each year to conservation and fishing organizations that protect and develop quality habitat to ensure quality fishing opportunities.
Getting more people “hooked” on fishing
In an effort to introduce more people to fishing, the FWCC allowed for two license-free saltwater fishing dates in 2013. The first was held on June 1, and another will take place on Sunday, September 1. A license-free freshwater day was also allowed on June 8. In addition, the FWCC organized several activities across the state in June, Visit Florida’s Fishing Month. Some of these activities included dockside outreach, where staff talked to the public at several boat ramps and docks about saltwater fishing. The staff also welcomed tourists at the welcome centers on major Florida interstates, and offered a women’s fishing clinic. Season and size restrictions are still enforced during the license-free days.
The FWCC also offers saltwater fishing clinics for children ages 5-15 and their parents. With the goal of creating “responsible marine resource stewards,” the clinics teach children how to cast, tie knots, tackle fish, and the importance of becoming an ethical angler. The clinics also include a “touch tank” session for children to learn about marine animals and how they interact in their habitats. These clinics are funded by the Sport Fish Restoration Program, a national program managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which uses revenue generated by the federal excise taxes to purchase fishing items.4
The International Game & Fish Association Museum
Florida is so important to the sportfishing industry that the International Game and Fish Association (IGFA) headquarters has been located in Florida since the 1950s. It has resided in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and moved in 1999 to Dania Beach.
The IGFA museum in Dania Beach houses the headquarters as well as the Hall of Fame and a 60,000 square foot Muesum. Founded in 1939, the IGFA supports scientific research into fisheries, is a proponent of aquatic habitat conservation, and has been the official keeper of saltwater world records since its founding. IGFA took over the freshwater record registry when Field & Stream handed over its 68 years of records in 1978.