DNR: Fishing Creates 43K MN Jobs, $2.8B in Spending

A DNR official says that angling contributes to billions of dollars in spending each year and hundreds of millions in tax revenue-and a boost in the price of fishing licenses could further benefit the state.

Few activities could better characterize the Land of 10,000 Lakes than fishing-but, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), angling is far more than a sport or family pastime. It's a key part of the state's economy.

Dirk Peterson, a 34-year DNR veteran and current fisheries chief, said in a news release issued on Thursday that fishing is “an economic engine.”

Citing a 2007 study that analyzed the economic impact of U.S. anglers, Peterson said that Minnesota spends more money on fishing than every other state save for Florida and Texas.

The study-which tracked economic activity related to the 39 million licensed anglers throughout the country and 1.4 million in Minnesota-found that the fishing industry generates $2.8 billion in direct retail spending within the state. It also contributes more than $640 million annually in federal and state tax revenues, the DNR said.

Further, the economic impact grows to more than $4.7 billion each year when accounting for indirect expenditures, such as gas and lodging. And the industry is responsible for 43,000 Minnesota jobs.

A Friday morning call to the DNR seeking further information about the study cited by Peterson was not immediately returned.

The DNR says that its key challenge is sustainability, as invasive species, habitat loss, and other factors influence the fish population.

Peterson supports hiking the prices of fishing licenses to create additional revenue to offset inflation and help maintain the quality of the state's fish populations.

Peterson said in a statement that the price of licenses, which cost $17 for a year-long permit, haven't changed in a decade. “If it went to $24, it would still be a bargain compared to most forms of entertainment,” Peterson said. “Moreover, it would help strengthen the backbone of our state's tourism economy.”