Angling Industry Threatened by Climate Change

by Patrick Shore

A study conducted by Penn State University revealed that climate change is threatening one of our countries oldest and most beloved past times: fishing. Research conducted by Dr. Tyrell DeWeber indicates that rising air and river water temperatures in the eastern United States will drive the brook trout upstream in search of colder water. Dr. DeWeber predicts that anglers may be forced to travel up to 450 miles in the near future to fish for brook trout. The disappearance of these fish is detrimental to many states who use fishing license fees to fund wildlife conservation, as well as to many outdoor stores and other small businesses associated with angling. Trout anglers spent $3.6 billion in 2011, which translated to an estimated $8.3 billion total economic impact, supporting thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollar in salaries and tax revenues.

The loss of these trout would cripple the angling industry in the region and the country’s economy as a whole. Ideal water temperatures for trout are between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit; brook trout prefer temperatures in the low 50s and will migrate to cooler waters once temperatures reach 65 degrees. Trout are extremely sensitive to weather patterns and as climate change continues, increased extreme weather patterns threaten the well being of the fish. The popular fish may soon be inaccessible to millions of americans who enjoy them. This study is a grim glimpse at the future of recreational fishing in the US as climate change continues.

Citations: Leberfinger, M., 2015, Climate change may cost fishermen more time, money in search of brook trout.


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