Making a Big Splash

Trout fishing reels in big bucks for government at all levels.

Izaak Walton was to the art of fishing what John Maynard Keynes was to modern economics. Caught in the muse, Walton contemplated the value of angling in his book The Compleat Angler, saying that "It will prove to be like virtue, a reward to itself." Fishing's great apostle knew what recompense could come, if only measured by an intangible pension.

But the economic benefits of angling are tangible-and quite measurable. A recent peer-reviewed study conducted by James Caudill, an economist at the Fish and Wildlife Service, shows that fishing for rainbow trout produced by the National Fish Hatchery System sends ripples through economies, making a splash in the tills of businesses and government. Simply put, fishing for rainbow trout reels in big bucks.

Caudill conducted his research on fish stocked by 11 national fish hatcheries that produced more than 15,000 pounds of rainbow trout in fiscal 2004. Those hatcheries raised 9.4 million rainbow trout, providing nearly 4 million angler-days on the water. Fish raised in the national hatcheries are stocked in public waters. In the case of rainbow trout, stocking is typically below dams, where the release of colder water from behind the dams creates trout habitats. Retail sales on items related to rainbow-trout fishing-food, gas, lodging, guide fees, bait and tackle-amounted to $172.7 million. That spending provided jobs for 3,502 people and income of $80 million.

Those wage earners contributed back to public treasuries-$2.9 million in state income taxes and $10.6 million in federal income taxes. The bottom line, according to Caudill's study, is fishing for rainbow trout generated an economic output of $325.1 million in one year.

Taxpayers who fund the National Fish Hatchery System paid $5.4 million to produce rainbow trout in 2004. This means that for every budget dollar spent on rainbow trout production, that dollar moves through the economy fueling $32.20 in retail sales and $36.88 in net economic value. This is not an actual cost-benefit analysis, but it is clear that rainbow trout coming from the national fish hatcheries provide a profound economic stimulus with significant returns to public treasuries.

There is another benefit. Scientists at the hatcheries stand in the presence of the past; the Fish and Wildlife Service, begun in 1940, had its genesis at the U.S. Fish Commission, created in 1871. Embodied in rainbow trout are 135 years of experience, science and technology.

The rainbow trout you find under plastic at your grocery store is not the same one you might tussle with at the end of your line. Those from the national hatcheries are managed through brood stocks and strains, with specific standards for defined purposes, such as facing the rigors of the wild. Some are meant for a quick put-and-take; others are stocked to grow for a long time and to a large size. All the hatcheries benefit from the work of nine Fish Health Centers nationwide, where scientists ensure that fish stay healthy and that pathogens are not spread.

Rainbow trout are by far the most popular cold-water sports fish in this country, and the Fish and Wildlife Service works in partnership with state agencies and Indian tribes to keep them thriving. Long-standing agreements to culture rainbow trout date back 70 years.

Walton's book cut to the essence of why people fish, and it's not about the economics. More than 35 million people in the United States buy fishing licenses every year. Walton wrote of the essence and values that anglers hold dear, and those are unchanging, evidenced by the fact that The Compleat Angler has been in print since 1653. It's telling, too, that a volume about fishing is the third most reprinted book in English after the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.