Economic Impacts of Independent Bait and Tackle Retailers

Bait and Tackle Shops in the U.S. generate $850 million in sales of marine bait, tackle, and equipment; and contribute 2.3 billion in total sales impacts to the U.S. economy.

NOAA just released their findings for a study where they evaluated the economics of independent marine recreational fishing bait and tackle retail stores. The results are in 2013 dollars and are reported for the U.S. and by federal fishery management geographic regions. The study focused on independently owned small businesses that sell bait and tackle to saltwater anglers in coastal and near coastal communities located in states on the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific coasts, Alaska, and Hawaii. NOAA targeted small businesses because they would be more disproportionately affected by regional fisheries management actions as a result of their greater dependence on local fisheries; also because this sector in previous studies has been largely overshadowed by larger national and regional chains.

The survey was conducted by sending bait and tackle retail establishments a survey by mail in June 2014. Second and Third mailings occurred through October 2014. The overall response rate at the end of the third mailing was 27%. The results of the surveys were used to determine the direct sales, income, and employment impacts associated with retail sales of marine bait and tackle in coastal communities. The analysis used IMPLAN, an input-output model that is commonly used by economists in economic analyses.

The final reports breaks down data into two distinct groups. The first group is bait and tackle stores that cater exclusively to recreational anglers. The second group comprises other stores that returned usable surveys and includes sporting goods stores, convenience stores, marinas, general retail stores, and hardware stores. Findings for these two groups are displayed in the table below for the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions. The results for other regions are aggregated and displayed as overall totals.

From the final report some key terms are defined:

  • Sales are the gross value of sales by business within the economic region.
  • Income includes personal income (wages and salaries) and income from self-employment.
  • Employment is specified on the basis of full- and part-time jobs.

Now for the numbers…extrapolating the 27% of surveys returned up to the total eligible population of 3,514 independent bait and tackle shops in U.S coastal communities, the contributions to the U.S. economy are $2.3 billion in total sales impacts, $800 million in income impacts; and over 16,000 jobs, of which 7,800 are bait and tackle store jobs. These contributions were the result of $854 million in sales of saltwater recreational fishing bait and tackle.

A look at the economic impacts regionally follows:

Region Bait & Tackle Sales (millions) Total Sales Impacts (millions) Income Impacts (millions) Jobs
New England Total $93.7 $200 $78.9 1,256
Mid Atlantic Total $180.5 $383.5 $137.2 2,578
South Atlantic Bait & Tackle shops $225 $83.9 1,733
Other stores $163.8 $60.3 1,159
Total $186 $389 $144 2,892
Gulf of Mexico Bait & Tackle shops $409 $112 2,902
Other stores $192 $48.2 1,495
Total $266 $601 $160 4,402
West Coast Total $96.5 $208.7 $70.1 1,678
Alaska Total $27.3 $44.3 $15.9 319
Hawaii Total $22.6 $38.1 $19 285

A few other fast facts just for the Gulf of Mexico region that were identified in the report include:

  • Saltwater recreational fisheries that generated the greatest sales of bait and tackle were 1) Red or black drum/sea trout; 2) Red snapper/Grouper; 3) Spanish mackerel; followed by a close 4) Dolphin/Cobia/Wahoo.
  • Retail store owner opinions on how outside factors affected their sales were: Negative affects 1) Fishery seasonal closures; 2) Fisheries regulations; and 3) Other government regulations. Positive affects 1) Weather; 2) Status of economy; and 3) Changes in fish stock status.
  • Top Industries likely to be supported by store operational expenses include wholesale trade, commercial fishing, maintenance and repair of nonresidential structures, and employment services.
  • Top industries likely to be supported by store employee spending are food services and drinking places, offices of physicians, private hospitals, and retail stores.


Hutt, Clifford, Sabrina Lovell, and Scott Steinback. 2015. The Economics of Independent Marine Recreational Fishing Bait and Tackle Retail Stores in the United States, 2013. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-151, July 2015.

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Posted: July 21, 2015

Category: Coasts & Marine, Natural Resources, Recreation, Research
Tags: Bait And Tackle, Economic Impact, Recreational Fishing

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