Scott Deal highlights need for an updated and robust infrastructure, a clean and healthy environment and sound fisheries management policy to help grow the recreational boat business
The recreational boating industry in the US represents 690,000 jobs at 35,000 businesses and with an annual economic impact of over US$170 billion an is a significant part of the so called ‘Blue Economy,’ and the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation learned as much during a hearing Wednesday titled “Our Blue Economy: Successes and Opportunities.”
Scott Deal, President and CEO of Florida-based Maverick Boat Group, and a board member with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) testified before the committee, detailing the three basic needs for supporting the business and jobs behind the industry: an updated and robust infrastructure, a clean and healthy environment and sound fisheries management policy.
“While most people think of the boating industry as a fun form of recreation, the term ‘recreation’ is a misnomer — boating means business,” Deal testified. “Recreational fishing is more than a family enjoying the water on a Saturday afternoon. It provides for hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Anglers and boaters are good stewards of the environment. We need clean water and sustainable fisheries to enjoy our sport. We directly contribute to infrastructure and conservation efforts, totaling $600 million annually through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Recreational anglers take only two percent of the finfish in America’s oceans, while generating more than half the jobs in the entire fishing industry.”
The Blue Economy is sustainable use of the ocean and inland waterways for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ecosystem health. It includes renewable energy, tourism, climate change, waste management, maritime transport and fisheries management.
Deal concluded his remarks by stating, “The boating and fishing community looks forward to continuing to work with you, Mr. Chairman, the members of this committee and the administration to maximize economic contributions to the Blue Economy and keep our oceans sustainable for generations to come.”