Recreational angling is a powerful economic engine in Alabama

Posted on April 24, 2020

Recreational angling is a powerful economic engine in Alabama

Originally Published on Feb 18th, 2020

Alabama is home to fantastic angling opportunities as well as some great conservation success stories. You don’t have to look far to see the impact that recreational anglers have on conservation projects around the state.

Each time an angler purchases a fishing boat, motor, rod/reels and tackle, they are funding conservation projects across Alabama through a federal program called the Sportfish Restoration Fund. The program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and supported by an excise tax on qualifying fishing-related purchases.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources receives these funds based on a formula that involves the number of fishing licenses sold. In 2019, Alabama will receive almost $6.5 million for things such as new boat ramps, fishing piers, enforcement efforts, habitat projects, research and fish restocking efforts.

Coastal Conservation Association Alabama works closely with the Department of Conservation and helps find matching funds for conservation projects. One recent project that everyone should be proud of is the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores, operated by the Alabama Marine Resources Division.

CCA Alabama has invested more than $170,000 over the past two years to purchase new equipment and upgrades to the fish hatchery. This year, it will raise and release recreationally important species like southern flounder, Florida pompano and speckled trout.

Recreational angling is a powerful economic engine for our state. That economic power coupled with a strong conservation ethic make anglers the natural stewards of our marine environment. Every time anglers buy a fishing license, join a group like CCA, purchase gear or get a saltwater fishing specialty license plate, they help protect and enhance coastal Alabama now and in the future.

Blakeley Ellis is the executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association Alabama.