Weather Effects on the Demand for Coastal Recreational Fishing: Implications for a Changing Climate

Working Paper


This paper estimates the demand for coastal recreational fishing in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions of the United States and evaluates the potential welfare implications resulting from climate change. Specifically, we use short-run variability in temperature and precipitation to estimate the effect of weather on participation in shoreline fishing in coastal waters. We then simulate how climate change may impact those choices over time. Parameter estimates are combined with predictions from five global climate models under three emissions scenarios to estimate welfare changes associated with climate change over multiple time horizons. Overall, our results suggest the effects of climate change on shoreline recreational fishing are positive and significant in the long run (2080-2099) with simulation results predicting annual gains of up to $6.83 per trip, or $304 million in the aggregate. The results are decomposed seasonally and regionally to reveal substantial heterogeneity. Welfare gains associated with increasing temperatures in the non-summer months outweigh modest losses in the summer months. The Gulf Coast region has the potential to realize welfare losses, while the Mid-Atlantic and New England are likely to experience welfare gains in all seasons. Of the nearly 45 million annual trips predicted by the model, climate change may increase participation by 0.2 to 2.2 percent in the aggregate. Given the modest negative demand responses in the Gulf and Southeast regions, evidence of adaptation is identified from a model of night fishing. Results suggest that recreational anglers may shift their activities to night as daily high temperatures increase rather than change their participation decision.

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