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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


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December 23, 1997
Contact: Tim Water, (425) 775-1311, ext. 119

Anglers took 1.5 million trips to Puget Sound, coast in 1996; new study to collect more economic data

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 $45,557.

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 expenditures.

"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 Commission.

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- 5400.