The Effects of Weather on Recreational Fishing Demand and Adaptation: Implications for a Changing Climate

CEnREP Working Paper No. 19-016
February 2019


Outdoor recreation is one of the most popular leisure time activities in the United States, yet the potential impacts of climate change on this activity are largely unknown or poorly understood. We estimate the effect of temperature and precipitation on the demand for a significant segment of the outdoor recreation economy – coastal recreational fishing in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions – from 2004-2009. Combining our econometric estimates from a structural model of angler behavior with downscaled climate projections, we find declines in participation (up to 15 percent) and welfare (up to $312 million annually) for recreational anglers primarily due to more days with extreme temperatures under predicted climate futures. We find evidence of regional and temporal heterogeneity, with projected losses in warmer regions and months and gains predicted in cooler regions and months. We then explore inter- and intra-temporal substitution as potential adaptation strategies to extreme heat. While our results show no significant evidence of angler substituting their recreation decisions across times of the year, we do find that anglers might shift their activities to nighttime as temperatures increase rather than fish less frequently.

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