Recreational Fishing in the Mid-Atlantic
Recreational fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in America, and the Mid-Atlantic states offer anglers some of the best opportunities to catch recreational favorites like summer flounder, black sea bass, and bluefish. In 2011, more than 5 million anglers took approximately 21 million fishing trips off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic.
Aside from providing recreation to millions of anglers, fishing plays an important role in strengthening coastal economies and communities. In 2009, approximately 42,000 people were employed in the recreational fishing industry, with an income impact of nearly $3 billion. Recreational fishing also stimulates other coastal industries by driving tourists to the coast. In 2011, more than a third of Mid-Atlantic fishing trips were taken by out-of-state visitors. The recreational fishing community also contributes to environmental conservation through fishing license sales and taxes on equipment that are used to protect watersheds, waterways, estuaries, and marine environments.
Recreational fishing offers residents and visitors to the northeast an opportunity to experience the ocean and the complex web of life it supports first hand. Fishing experiences can foster an appreciation for conservation of sea life, and provide insight into the need and type of programs required to maintain and protect fisheries, and the habitat that supports them.
Like commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen must comply with state and regional regulations. Some fishery regulations are established on a coast-wide basis (e.g., bluefish), others can differ from state to state (e.g., summer flounder). State fishery management agencies, professional charter boat operations, and many bait and tackle shops typically post the most current regulations by species for recreational fishermen.