As per the study commissioned by the Everglades Foundation, tarpon fishing in the Charlotte Harbor system, which includes Pine Island Sound and the Caloosahatchee River, has an annual economic impact of $108.6 million. Sanibel author Randy Wayne White, co-editor of “The Ultimate Tarpon Book” and a former fishing guide, said that tarpon fishing has a kind of prehistoric energy, and when you’re fighting one, you’re connected to that energy.
The Charlotte Harbor system is considered the tarpon capital of the world, but, until now, no one had calculated the economic importance of tarpon fishing on the area. Tarpon fishing in that region is extensive. What’s interesting is it’s that much from surveying only local folks. It doesn’t account for people coming from other parts of Florida or from out of the state.
Figure shows that there were 29,845 tarpon fishermen in the study area; these fishermen averaged 10 days targeting tarpon in the study area. Aaron Adams, director of operations for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, said that historically, fisheries management has been focused on fish that have commercial value. More and more, it’s becoming evident that recreational fisheries are as valuable as or more valuable than commercial fisheries.