Angling Retains its Mainstream Appeal and Broad Economic Impact

Despite competition for time and access, fishing is still an economic powerhouse Alexandria, VA - September 26, 2007 - Despite competition from video games

  • By: Ted Williams
Despite competition for time and access, fishing is still an economic powerhouse

Alexandria, VA - September 26, 2007 - Despite competition from video games and other similar activities and increased urbanization, recreational angling remains one of the largest outdoor recreational activities in the nation as well as one of the most solid industries in the United States. Annually, nearly 40 million anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for over one million people.

The latest National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), however, does show a decline in angling participation over the past 5 years with the steepest falloff among Great Lakes anglers. Despite a decline in participation, tackle sales increased by $250 million over the past five years. The USFWS conducts its survey every five years with the latest survey conducted in 2006.

"Although fishing remains one of the most popular outdoor sports in the country, the sportfishing industry is clearly concerned about the numbers being reported in the survey," said American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman. "However, what these numbers say to us is that our industry is feeling the effects of our society's rapidly growing disconnect with the outdoors and the lack of easy access to fishing. We, along with the boating industry, are taking steps to turn this situation around."

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) established through the efforts of the sportfishing and boating industry and state fish and wildlife agencies, is taking steps to halt the long-term decline through new and innovative marketing and education campaigns aimed at both novice and avid anglers. The Future Fisherman Foundation, the angler education arm of the sportfishing industry, is successfully working within school systems across the county through its Physh Ed program to provide grants to physical education teachers to instruct students in fishing and boating.

Nussman further said, "RBFF and the fishing and boating industries are teaming to create a nationwide advertising campaign aimed at getting adults and children out their front doors and onto the water. If we don't teach our children about the wonders and beauty of nature through a day spent fishing and boating, who will?"

Ultimately, anglers and other sportsmen are the most significant funding source for conservation and recreation in this country. Through the purchase of fishing licenses and special excise taxes on gear and motorboat fuel, hundreds of millions of anglers' dollars each year are collected or funneled to states for conservation and recreation. Angler participation and the equipment and fishing licenses they purchase are crucial to conservation management in the United States. In 2007, $350 million of these excise taxes were provided to state fish and wildlife agencies to restore fisheries and promote fishing. In addition, fishing license sales generated nearly $560 million more in revenues.

Other interesting statistics on sportfishing include:

The three states with the most anglers are Florida (2.77 million), Texas (2.52 million) and California (1.73 million).