Coast-related activity is a very important economic sector in coastal states and it makes a substantial contribution to the overall economy of Delaware. Some aspects of coast related activity in the state are obvious; several hundred seasonal ocean lifeguards employed by municipalities, state parks, and private associations in coastal communities and the hordes of visitors crowding the boardwalks in Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach would not be there if not for the coast, an neither would the businesses that cater to them. Tourism contributed to five percent of the state’s GDP, coming in at a value of 3 billion dollars, and is responsible for creating nearly 41,000 jobs.
Fishing which was once an important industry in Delaware but has declined in recent decades. The total commercial landings in 2004 brought 4.3 million pounds, worth $5.4 million. Clams, plentiful until the mid-1970s, are in short supply because of over-harvesting. In 2001, the commercial fishing fleet had 184 vessels. Delaware issued 20,544 sport-fishing licenses in 2004.