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RBFF report shows increased fishing participation

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation announced that fishing participation has increased. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Outdoor Foundation are reporting the increase.

The latest fishing license sales data from the USFWS shows a 1.79 percent increase in license sales. This increase was enough to bring the 10-year change in fishing license sales to 4.26 percent. Even more encouraging is that it marks the third consecutive year of increases in fishing license sales after a long period of stagnant sales.

Additionally, the Outdoor Foundation has released its 2017 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, which includes plenty of positive news for the sport of fishing. Highlights include:

  • Fishing is again the number two most popular adult outdoor activity, but is closing in on the number one activity, jogging
  • Saltwater fishing participation increased 4 percent over the past three years
  • Fly fishing increased 6 percent in 2016 and 9.8 percent over the past three years
  • Kayak fishing increased 4.6 percent in 2016 and 31.8 percent over the past three years
  • Youth participation in fishing is at 6 million, or 19.5 percent of youth (ages 6-24), up from 14.8 million participants in 2015
  • Adult participation in fishing is at 5 million adults (ages 25+), or 14.6 percent of the adult population

"We are very encouraged by the positive news coming from both the USFWS and the Outdoor Foundation," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "It's great to see the sport of fishing getting the appreciation we all know it deserves, and with fishing being the number one activity done from a boat, this is news our entire industry should celebrate. These trends give us plenty of momentum as we continue on our path to 60 in 60."

RBFF's 2017 Special Report on Fishing, which will be released in full this July, includes additional information on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region. "We got a sneak peek at the data, which reveals even more positive news for fishing," said Peterson. "We're seeing increases in Hispanic participation, youth participation, and female participation, in addition to an overall increase in participation nationwide."

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

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