OLYMPIA -- Recreational anglers hoping to catch a fish along Washington's
coast or in Puget Sound aren't allowing their gone fishin' signs to collect dust.
That's one of the findings of a recent study that found anglers in 1996 embarked
on nearly 1.5 million fishing trips to the state's marine waters.
The study, a precursor to a larger, economic study to be launched next month by
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) researchers, also found that the
average angler in Washington state spent $33 each time he or she went fishing on
items ranging from baitfish to gasoline. The average angler's household income was
The study broadly defined a fishing trip to include a single person sitting on a
dock, to an ocean-plying charter boat filled with group of people. Washington residents
as well as out-of-state visitors were counted as part of the study.
The study was confined to marine waters, and did not include visits by anglers to
the state's multitude of freshwater lakes, streams or other waterways.
"This study confirmed what we have long suspected that recreational anglers
fishing Puget Sound and coastal waters play an extremely important role in the state's
way of life and its economy," said WDFW Director Bern Shanks.
"The larger study researchers will conduct beginning in January should help us
further quantify important economic data, and guide us in managing our state's diverse
fisheries," Shanks added.
Beginning in early January, WDFW researchers will comb docks and piers and
other locations in Puget Sound and along the coast to ask anglers a variety of
questions, including whether they took time off from work to go fishing, how far they
traveled to fish and whether they plan to stay overnight at a hotel or motel. The
interviews will take several minutes to complete.
If the person agrees, he or she will be contacted by phone about three weeks
after the initial interview and asked follow-up questions. These questions will allow
researchers to obtain more detailed information about the individual's fishing trip and
"The survey is extremely important," said Pamela Erstad, a WDFW fisheries
biologist overseeing the research.
"It should provide vital data for fisheries managers, recreational organizations
and others trying to determine not only the economic value of sportfishing in the state,
but how fishing opportunities can be enhanced."
Erstad said the survey is part of a Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey
being conducted nationwide. It is being funded by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries
People seeking more information about the survey can call Erstad at (425) 379-
2316, or Russell Porter at the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, (503) 650-