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Recreational Fishing

Recreational Fishing

Saltwater recreational fishing is an American pastime, conservation contributor, and important economic driver nationwide. Millions of Americans access the great outdoors through recreational fishing each year, strengthening families, friendships, and communities while contributing $63 billion in sales impacts and $36 billion in gross domestic product each year to the national economy. Saltwater recreational fisheries are crucial for introducing and connecting the next generation to the natural world while simultaneously presenting complex stewardship challenges, including balancing ecosystem conservation with social and economic benefits for the nation.

We recognize the importance of the recreational fishing community and its benefits to coastal economies and are committed to actively engaging with and responding to its interests at both the national and regional levels.


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9 million recreational anglers

In 2015, 9 million recreational anglers took nearly 61 million trips.

>351 million fish

The number of fish that recreational anglers caught in 2015, 57 percent of which were released alive.

Nearly 440,000 jobs

In 2015, the recreational fishing industry supported this number of jobs.

$28.7 billion

Recreational anglers spent $28.7 billion on fishing trips and durable goods such as rods and reels, fishing-related equipment, and boats in 2015.

65 million pounds of fish harvested in Florida

In 2015, Florida was the state with the most recreational fishing activity with more than 65 million pounds of fish harvested followed by North Carolina at 10 million pounds.

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National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy

Our Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy guides agency planning, activities, and decision-making. National and regional implementation plans guide the course for our recreational fisheries work.

Learn more about the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy

Recreational Fisheries Across the U.S.

Whether it’s casting in Maine or trolling in Guam, there are diverse saltwater recreational fishing opportunities to be had in U.S. waters.

Learn more about the Saltwater Recreational Implementation Plans

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species

Atlantic highly migratory species are very popular with saltwater anglers. These fish live throughout the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean waters and include tuna, sharks, swordfish, and billfish. 

Learn more about Atlantic highly migratory species

Marine Recreational Information Program

The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is the state-regional-federal partnership responsible for developing, improving, and implementing surveys that measure how many trips saltwater anglers take and how many fish they catch. 

Learn more about the Marine Recreational Information Program


Saltwater recreational fishing is an integral part of American coastal life and communities.