Fishing & Boating, An Economic Get-away That Benefits All Virginians

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For less than the cost of a full tank of gas, a family of four can fish for a year.

Richmond, VA — With the weather warming up, people are thinking about getting outdoors and spending time with family and friends. However, with rising fuel costs, many people are looking to stay closer to home. Fortunately for Virginians, there’s a lake, river or stream within an hour’s drive from any location in the state, making it easy and economical to get away from it all for a day on the water boating, fishing and relaxing.

While many Virginian’s benefit from the recreational aspect, all Virginians benefit from the conservation and economic activity generated by boaters and anglers. Recent studies show that recreational boaters and anglers are major powers when it comes to the strength of the economy. Virginia is home to or a destination for more than 800,000 anglers each year. Fishing alone is responsible for more than $1.3 billion in economic impact in the state.

“With the Chesapeake Bay, our coastal waters, our rivers and lakes, and our trout streams of the Blue Ridge, Virginia is a destination for boaters and anglers. These recreational sports are tremendously important to the strength of our state’s economy,” said Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Executive Director Bob Duncan. “The funds generated by boating and fishing are crucial to keeping Virginia’s waterways and lands in good condition and managing the state’s fresh and saltwater fisheries.”

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, fishing outranks football, baseball and tennis as one of America’s favorite outdoor pastimes. Nationally, in one year, anglers spent nearly $19 billion on bait, boat rentals, and other equipment, $18 billion on food and lodging during fishing trips and $5.5 billion on licenses, memberships and other resources according to the U S Fish and Wildlife Service.

Together, the boating and fishing industries support more than a million jobs and add millions of dollars to state tax revenues, providing significant support to the nation’s overall economy through recessions as well as booms, according to recent reports from several sources including the American Sportfishing Association and Southwick Associates.

“It’s a well-known fact that boaters and anglers are passionate about the outdoors,” said Recreational Boating &; Fishing Foundation (RBFF) President and CEO Frank Peterson. “In fact, their continuing participation in these sports and the financial contributions they produce are essential to preserving this country’s natural beauty.”

Across the United States, anglers invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year in fisheries conservation and management, much of this through the purchase of fishing licenses which are a primary funding source for most fish and wildlife agencies.

When you purchase a fishing license, you not only buy quality time, but you also are investing in conservation. For less than the cost of a full tank of gas, a family of four can fish for a year.

Virginia fishing licenses can be purchased directly online through the Department’s Web site www.dgif.virginia.gov/licenses; by telephone through a toll-free number, 1-866-721-6911; or at sporting goods stores.

To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, visit www.HuntFishVA.com.

Like to “test the waters” before purchasing a new fishing license? Take advantage of Free Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing Days, June 6-8, 2008. Try it. You’ll be hooked for life.