Recreational fishing is more than just a pleasant getaway for millions of Americans. As an industry, it provides a living for countless people in businesses ranging from fishing tackle and boating manufacturing to travel and hospitality to publications, magazines and much more. As reported in Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, a new fishing statistics report produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry, the number of anglers increased 11 percent over the past five years and fishing tackle sales grew more than 16 percent. When expenditures are multiplied by our nation’s 60 million anglers, their dollars have a significant impact on our nation’s economy.
Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation highlights how recreational fishing not only endures as an activity that permeates all social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a significant role in the country’s most successful fisheries conservation efforts.
“As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on this nation’s economy,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Just by enjoying a day on the water, men, women and children across the United States pump billions of dollars into this country’s economy.”
Nussman further said, “And it’s not just the economy. In many ways, America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.”
According to the new study, America’s nearly 60 million anglers are estimated to spend $46 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Despite the economic difficulties facing the U.S. economy over the past five years; the total amount spent on sportfishing, which encompasses tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent.
A number of reports strongly indicate that fishing is identified by American families as one of the best ways to spend quality time together. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, fishing as a leisure-time activity ranks higher than playing basketball or softball, skateboarding, jogging or hiking.
“Despite the uncertain economic conditions that beset all Americas, or because of it, anglers continue to fish and spend even more time outdoors,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “A growing interest in the outdoors helped fuel the growth in angler numbers which we believe will create even more momentum in fishing participation and sales in 2013 and beyond.”
Substantially more than any other groups, anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. Special taxes on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channel more than $1 billion of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs each year.
ASA’s new analysis is based on data from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sportfishing in America was compiled for ASA by Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Facts about Recreational Fishing
- There are approximately 60 million anglers in the U.S. of which 46 million are estimated to fish in a given year.
- One of every four anglers fishes in saltwater.
- Fishing tackle sales grew over 16 percent in the past five years.
- Since 2006, angler numbers grew 11 percent
- More Americans fish than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined.
- If fishing were a company, the amount spent by anglers to support fishing-related retail sales would rank number 51 on the Fortune 500™ list.
- Fishing generated more revenue ($48 billion) than Lockheed Martin ($47 billion), Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) or Google ($38 billion).
- The economic activity generated by sportfishing is greater than the economy, measured in Gross State Product, of 17 states.
- At more than 46 million anglers, more than twice the number of people fished in 2011 than attended every NFL game combined.
Image courtesy American Sportfishing Association