September 26, 2007—Alexandria, VA—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...