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Recreational Fishing Participation Increased Nearly 20 Percent Over the Past 10 Years

2017-09-28
Mary Jane Williamson | ASA
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Preliminary findings by the USFWS also reveal increase in fishing expenditures

ALEXANDRIA, VA - September 13, 2017 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its initial report of the 2016 National Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation national survey. The survey, conducted every five years in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that fishing participation is up nearly 20 percent over the last 10 years. Anglers also increased their overall spend by 2.4 percent during the past five years.

“Dedicated efforts by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), state fish and wildlife agencies, the recreational fishing industry and independent programs have madeincreases in recreational fishing possible,” said American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) Glenn Hughes, vice president of Industry Relations. “Thanks also goes to ASA’s Government Affairs team and our partners who helped ensure that legislation and policy decisions were in place to provide access, clean water and fisheries conservation which anglers need for a successful day on the water.”


Overall, fishing participation increased 8.2 percent for individuals 16 to 65 years of age over the last five years. This is the highest level of participation since 1991. Revenue from equipment purchases to all trip expenditures also increased from $45 billion to $46.1 billion in the last five years.

“We’re excited to see the fruits of our efforts to increase fishing and boating participation validated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s latest report –  a true benchmark of the industry,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “The results of this report show that RBFF has had a positive impact on participation since its inception, and we only plan to build upon these numbers.”

ASA has developed tools and materials for the recreational fishing industry to further assist in the effort. The emphasis is on effectively reaching anglers through recruitment,retention and reactivation (R3) practices. Several state agencies and industry partners are already implementing these R3 practices to help achieve 60 million anglers over the next 60 months.

A press release with more details on overall wildlife-related participation is available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ASA will release a full report on the findings in the spring of 2018.

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America's anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

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