Participation in fishing up for second straight year


Thomas Allen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation announced participation in fishing has increased for the second year in a row. Topline numbers from the soon to be released Outdoor Foundation Outdoor Recreation Participation Report and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Historical Fishing License Sales Data both show growth in fishing participation.

  • Highlights –
    • Fishing participation rose 4 percent to 49.1 million total participants in 2017
    • Fishing license sales increased 1.3 percent in 2017, making for a 4.3 percent increase over the last 10 years
  • Youth participation –
    • 11.6 million youth (ages 6-17) participated in fishing
    • Up 5.4 percent from 11 million participants in 2016
  • Female participation –
    • Increased 3.1 percent to 17.1 million participants
  • First-timers –
    • 3.0 million participants had their first fishing experience in 2017
    • Up 21 percent from 2.5 million in 2016
  • Hispanic participation –
    • Increased 11 percent to 4.2 million participants in 2017

“As we continue to move closer to our 60 in 60 goal, news like this is incredibly encouraging,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “It’s obvious that the work RBFF and the industry are doing is working. More and more consumers are realizing the joys of fishing, and with fishing being the number one activity done from a boat, the entire industry has plenty to celebrate. Perhaps most importantly, all this means more funding for critical conservation programs across the nation.”

Set for release in the coming days, the Outdoor Foundation’s report highlights participation and trends across the entirety of outdoor recreation, including fishing, hiking, biking and more. The 2018 Special Report on Fishing, which will be released in July and includes additional information on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region, will be available for download in RBFF’s Resource Center, along with previous years’ reports. Additionally, the USFWS issues an update on license sales data each year, including tags, permits and stamps, as well as the gross cost of fishing licenses sold.

Stakeholders can utilize RBFF’s researchmarketing and event planning materials to recruit more new participants, retain existing customers, and reactivate lapsed participants, helping keep this positive trend going.