Study Confirms Summer Flounder Fishery Vital for Mid-Atlantic Fishing Communities; $259 Million in Economic Impacts

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS / ACCESSWIRE / August 10, 2020 / A new economic report reveals a clearer picture of just how valuable summer flounder is for coastal communities in the Mid-Atlantic: $26.5 million worth of fish landed at the docks, generating over $151 million in total sales for wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants, and millions more in indirect impacts.

According to the study from the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCEMFIS), the fishery, based largely in Mid-Atlantic states such as New Jersey, Virginia and Rhode Island, is responsible for over $259 million in total economic output. This includes the millions in direct landings and sales, but also $44 million in indirect economic impacts, and over 1,600 direct jobs.

“Summer flounder is one of the cornerstone fisheries of our community,” said Greg DiDomenico, the Chair of SCEMFIS. “It’s important that we’re able to quantify exactly how important it is. It will help us better manage this species and maintain the health of our coastal communities.”

The economic impact of the summer flounder fishery is spread across several sectors of the economy, with a diverse set of indirect economic impacts. In tracking where flounder ends up, the study finds that over half of landings eventually go to restaurants and other foodservice establishments, with the other half going to retail.

The report comes at an important time for the fishery. The most recent summer flounder assessment found that flounder are not overfished, and are not experiencing overfishing. Regulators at both the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are currently considering how to reallocate flounder quotas as part of an update to the summer flounder management plan. At the same time, fishermen and coastal communities are dealing with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis, facing a loss of revenue from decreased sales opportunities. Managers now have critical new information on the benefits and contributions of the commercial fishery to guide their decisions.

Prepared by Thomas J. Murray and Associates on behalf of SCEMFIS, the report draws on information from NOAA landings and market data and interviews with members of the seafood sector.

The SCEMFIS study is one of several that the Center has done to quantify the true economic value of commercially important U.S. fisheries, and complements efforts by NOAA to track the economic contributions of the fishing industry nationally. Part of the National Science Foundation’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers program, SCEMFIS brings together leading academics and marine scientists with members of the fishing industry to provide new research on the industry’s unaddressed scientific needs.

Read the full report here

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SOURCE: Science Center for Marine Fisheries

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