The anglers who enjoy Minnesota’s sky blue waters are a powerful engine for the state’s economy, according to a new survey data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Direct spending of resident and non-resident anglers in Minnesota totaled $2.4 billion in 2011, the latest year for which information is available.
That amount included $1.4 billion on equipment, $925 million on trip-related expenditures and $41 million on various items such as magazines and fishing organization membership dues. Angler spending supports about 35,000 jobs.
“Only three states had higher angling expenditures,” said C.B. Bylander, outreach chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fish and Wildlife Division. “Two were Florida and New York, which are high population coastal states. The other was Michigan, which has nearly twice Minnesota’s population and abuts four Great Lakes.”
The economic and participation data is contained in two reports. One is the Minnesota report of the “2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.” The other is a related report titled “Sportfishing in America produced by the American Sportfishing Association.”
The federal survey found angler spending has declined by $315 million since 2006 when the last survey was conducted. The survey put the average amount spent per angler – $1,537, down from $1,843 in 2006. The average angler fished 14 days per year; collectively anglers fished 21.7 million days.
The 2011 survey ranks Minnesota second in the nation for angling participation. Thirty-two percent of residents age 16 or older have a fishing license. Only Alaska, at 40 percent, has a higher participation rate. Minnesota has about 1.5 million licensed anglers, a number that has remained relatively stable for many years.
The federal survey of hunting, fishing and wildlife-related recreation listed total direct expenditures by hunters and anglers at $3.3 billion, about $300 million less than 2006. Together, hunting and fishing supports 48,000 Minnesota jobs.
Hunting expenditures by residents and nonresidents totaled $1.1 billion. Direct spending by Minnesota hunters totaled $725 million of which $400 million was for equipment, $235 million for trip-related expenses and $90 million for magazines, land-leasing and other expenses. The average hunter spent $1,412 up from $889 in 2006.
The survey determined the average hunter hunted 12 days; collectively hunters hunted 5.6 million days. Minnesota ranks ninth in the nation for resident hunter numbers. Minnesota has about 570,000 hunters age 16 or older, a number that has remained stable for many years.
“At 32 percent, Minnesota’s fishing participation rate is more than double the national average of 14 percent,” Bylander said. “Similarly, at 11 percent Minnesota’s hunting participation rate is nearly double the national average of 6 percent.”
Bylander said sustaining Minnesota’s strong hunting and fishing heritage revolves largely around conserving habitat, effectively managing game species and introducing someone new to these activities. “Most people would welcome the opportunity to fish or hunt ... They just need to be asked and given some ongoing support,” he said.