Salmon anglers contribute over $100 million to economy of eastern Canada
A new economic study concludes that in 2010, spending on recreational salmon fishing in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces amounted to $128 million, and provided full-time employment for thousands.
The report by Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists of Halifax, and commissioned by the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), suggests that wild Atlantic salmon are the foundation of a crucial, sustainable and green industry. The chance to hook a wild Atlantic salmon, attracts tourists, and generates income and jobs in rural communities that are often faced with massive job loss in other sectors, such as forestry.
The recreational fishery attracts significant numbers of non-resident anglers from the United States, where fishing for Atlantic salmon is closed, due to their endangered status. For example, the recreational salmon fishery on New Brunswick’s Miramichi River alone, attracts visitors from around the world, supports annual spending of $20 million, and provides 637 (full-time equivalent) jobs to rural communities along the river.
This 82-page study provides a legitimate socio-economic value for wild Atlantic salmon, says ASF president Bill Taylor. “Additional conservation and restoration measures for wild Atlantic salmon will significantly strengthen the economy and quality-of-life of Canadians,” he said.
In 2005, Fisheries and Oceans Canada valued the recreational fishery for Atlantic salmon at $62 million. The Gardner Pinfold value in 2010 more than doubles this amount, largely due to an influx of anglers, attracted by better salmon runs. In 2010, 53,883 participated in the recreational fishery, compared to 41,737, in 2005.
In a random survey of Quebec and Atlantic Canada resident, Gardner Pinfold also found that more than 80 per cent of the public supports investment in salmon restoration. In fact, respondents were willing to pay between $4.50 and $12.50 annually per household, for programs with a high likelihood of success.
“Such strong support for wild Atlantic salmon against a dire economic backdrop, adds extra weight to the results, and [shows] that protecting the species rests solidly among the core values of Canadians,” said Greg MacAskill, an economist with Gardner Pinfold.
According to the ASF, increasing the salmon population depends on governments taking a lead by implementing effective restoration programs. “We are not asking for a hand-out,” said Taylor. “We are asking for a reasonable investment in restoration, conservation and protection that will pay dividends in future wild Atlantic salmon returns to our rivers and economic returns and employment to Canadian communities.”