Report: Estuary Restoration Critical to Fish Populations

The business world measures Return on Investment (ROI) by its impact on the bottom line. According to a new report titled "More Habitat Means More Fish," investment in the great outdoors is about much more than dollars and cents - notwithstanding the undeniably strong economic benefits.

Released May 7, the report compiled by Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and co-authored with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that investing in U.S. coastlines and estuaries leads to healthy habitat and strong fisheries. Such investments, driven by the more than $1 billion that anglers contribute through state fishing license fees and taxes on fishing equipment, bear significant impact on the businesses and industries that rely on healthy fisheries.

"The big challenges that fisheries face are increasingly habitat challenges. Without healthy habitat, we cannot sustain the fisheries that will feed Americans now and into the future," said Eric C. Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

The report states that more than 75 percent of the nation's commercial fish catch and 80 percent to 90 percent of the recreational fish catch depend on key estuary habitat at some point in their lifecycle. Moreover, the report notes that fish populations can respond quickly to habitat improvement, with long-lasting impact. Examples include:

San Francisco Bay's restored salt marshes, which have improved 41 fish species including steelhead trout, Pacific herring, green sturgeon, and Chinook salmon.

An Alabama oyster reef restoration project increased populations of several economically-important species, including blue crab, red drum, spotted seatrout, and flounder.

For the full report, visit: More Habitat Means More Fish