Alexandria, VA – October 30, 2019 – Today, the President and CEO of Temple Fork Outfitters and American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Government Affairs Committee member, Frank-Paul King, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Businesses about the economic impact of outdoor recreation.
“Without clean waters and abundant fish populations, the recreational fishing industry simply cannot survive,” said King. “No one wants to fish in dirty, polluted waters where fish populations have been depleted. Critical to small businesses in this segment of the outdoor recreation industry is that anglers can enjoy healthy aquatic systems with abundant fisheries.”
“We are grateful to the House Small Business Committee for focusing today’s hearing on the economic impact on outdoor recreation, including fishing,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president, Government Affairs. “Despite contributing 2.2% of gross domestic product, recreational fishing is often thought of in terms of ‘fun’, but not ‘business.’ King’s testimony today helped to reinforce the need for conservation policies and adequate infrastructure, which will help spur economic growth in the sportfishing industry and the outdoor recreation economy as a whole.”
Today’s U.S. House Committee Hearing on Small Business focused on how the growing outdoor recreational industry, which includes sportfishing, contributes to economic growth, jobs and conservation. To maintain economic growth for this industry, it's critical to have adequate infrastructure for anglers to have access to healthy fisheries.
Nearly $50 billion is spent each year by anglers which supports more than 800,000 jobs with an overall economic impact of nearly $125 billion. The outdoor industry’s infrastructure has been neglected for decades but with proper Congressional action to pass infrastructure funding it will help to create more access for fish and spur economic growth.
Temple Fork Outfitters, based in Texas, has operated for 25 years manufacturing fishing rods and other sportfishing equipment. As an active ASA member, King works to elevate the importance of the sportfishing industry as major contributors to economic growth and conservation. Maintaining and creating access to healthy fisheries equates to more fishing trips by anglers which in turn leads to more sales of fishing rods, reels, tackle and other equipment.
In addition, the purchases of sportfishing equipment contributes to a federal conservation fund known as the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (SFRBTF) by an excise tax placed on these sales. The SFRBTF helps to contribute more than $650 million in federal funding to state wildlife agencies that spearhead conservation, maintenance and access efforts. Because of this commitment to conservation, anglers are helping to maintain a healthy environment at the same time to help create opportunities for the industry to grow.