What is recreational salmon fishing worth to the WA economy?

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Many people would say the experience of catching a spectacular fighting salmon on a beautiful expanse of a WA beach is priceless.

But just how would you put a price and a value and a price on catching this southern icon and why would you want to?

The reality is for State Government and people in power who make decisions about managing our fisheries, money really does talk. And, while traditionally the dollar-value of commercial fisheries to the WA community has long been recorded and scrutinised by economists, this hasn’t been the case for recreational fisheries.

However, in 2019, the Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia report determined WA recfishers spend $2.4 billion on fishing annually.

Find the full Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in WA report here!

This received a lot of attention in the media and community with the Premier Mark McGowan announcing the results of the study.

On 24 February, 2020, Premier McGowan also announced the results of a similar survey-based study into the economic value of the recreational salmon fishery.

Funded through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, it found West Aussie fishers spend $331 million on recreational salmon fishing each year.

Much of that – about 80 per cent – is spent in the State’s regional areas, helping to support businesses and jobs in those areas.

This study and the Premier’s recognition of the significance and value of recfishing for salmon is a big step in ensuring the future of this awesome fishery is protected for the future.

“Understanding the economic value of salmon fishing will act as a foundation for promoting the tourism, recreational, and community values provided by salmon,” the RFIF-backed salmon recfishing economics project summarised.

“It will also assist the Government in determining how WA’s salmon stocks should be best managed in order to provide the State with the best return from this fishery.”