Hurt by reeling economy and catch limits, fishing's fortunes sinking in N.J.?
This is about the big one that got away.
Not a fish, but fishing, a sport and an economic engine in decline.
In recent years, the sport of saltwater fishing in New Jersey has lost more than one of every 10 jobs lost industry-wide, nearly $200 million in sales and $109 million in contributions to the state’s gross domestic product, according to the most recent economic data from the National Marine Fisheries Service. And since 2007, the industry has continued to lose ground here, according to a Star-Ledger analysis of federal data tracking anglers and the trips they take off of New Jersey’s shores.
Experts point to the recession and an increase in gas prices for curbing the number of fishermen chartering boats and pleasure craft. Anglers also say restrictive catch limits make the sport less appealing for many.
"That’s a major part of the New Jersey tourism industry — it trickles down to restaurants and hotels," said Thomas Fote, legislative operations manager for the Jersey Coast Anglers’ Association, a cooperative of more than 75 saltwater fishing clubs. "Five years ago, you couldn’t get a space in a marina. There’s a lot of empty spaces in the marinas nowadays."