Survey: Ocean and Coastal Photography is Big Business

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Published Sep 8, 2018 7:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new report by social scientists at NOAA Fisheries in the U.S. has found that viewing or photographing the ocean was the top activity for ocean lovers in the U.S. in number of participants, days spent and how much people paid to do it.

The recently released report provides results from the National Ocean Recreation Expenditure Survey, the first of its kind for NOAA. Responses to the survey indicate that in 2012, the baseline year chosen by researchers, nearly 49 million adults over 18 years of age nationwide participated in ocean and coastal recreation, spending more than 1.2 billion days along the coasts and spending over $141 billion in ocean recreation-related goods and services. That spending supported more than 3.1 million full and part-time jobs, $409 billion in income to businesses, and $135 billion to household incomes.

Households in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were included in the online survey, which focused on eight categories of activities: recreational fishing; recreational shellfishing; hunting waterfowl or other animals; viewing or photographing the ocean; beachcombing, tidepooling or collecting items; water contact sports; boating and associated activities and outdoor activities not involving water contact.

The shoreline of the U.S. spans roughly 88,633 miles excluding the Great Lakes. The Pacific region, with 48 percent of the U.S. ocean shoreline, had the largest number of participants, days involved and ocean recreation-related spending. Nearly 14 million participants spent 382 million days engaged in an ocean activity and spent over $39 billion on durable and trip-related goods and services. The Mid-Atlantic region, with 12 percent of the nation’s ocean coastline, was second in the number of ocean recreation participants, with over 10 million people enjoying the region’s coastline.

The New England region had the smallest regional share with 5.6 million ocean recreation participants spending 135 million days and $11 billion along New England’s coast, which is about seven percent of the U.S. ocean shoreline.