RBFF reports US fishing participation is at its highest since 1991
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New data being released at ICAST 2020 Online this week shows that fishing participation in the US in 2019 increased to 50.1 million – the highest number since 1991.
The information, contained in an annual study conducted by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) with the Outdoor Foundation, comes as further good news for an industry already reaping the benefits of a COVID-induced boom.
Topline results of the study were introduced at the virtual trade show by Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior Vice President with the RBFF, the organisation working to create new customers for tackle businesses and the presenting sponsor of ICAST Online.
“This is the very latest on fishing participation and provides you with free tools and information to help grow the sport,” Vatalaro told those tuning in to the first virtual ICAST.
“The 50.1 million Americans aged six plus taking part in fishing puts us on a 12 year upward trajectory. There are specific audience segments we know are key to increasing participation and they are posting very strong numbers too.”
Headline numbers revealed by Vatalaro for 2019 included:
• Newcomers to fishing increased to 3.1m
• Female participation reached 17.9m (from 17.7m in 2018).
• Hispanic anglers remained steady at 4.4m, the all-time high for the segment.
• The youth segment declined slightly to 11.3m, but is up as a percentage of the population.
Trends for this year suggest that fishing will continue to show growth. “After a few weeks of sheltering and uncertainty, we have seen a huge increase in fishing and boating,” added Vatalaro.
“Visits to the RBFF’s Take Me Fishing digital properties are at an all-time high and I believe we have a tremendous opportunity this summer to recruit newcomers and lapsed anglers alike.”
Those properties have seen 8.4m visits in just the first two months of the fiscal year – a 79% year-on-year increase. Organic traffic is up 350%, state licence referrals up 270% and YouTube views by 125%.
Earlier this year, the RBFF took the decision to reimagine its marketing campaign to create a new nationwide call to action that would position fishing and boating as the remedy to COVID-19.
As part of its online presence at ICAST, the Foundation is hosting a webinar tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2pm ET to provide an overview of the campaign and why it is essential the trade gets behind it.