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New Research Shows Number of New Fishing Participants Continues to Rise

RBFF Press release
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Fishing has consistently attracted new people to the sport over the last few years, according to a new report being released today by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and The Outdoor Foundation. The 2011 Special Report on Fishing and Boating revealed that in 2010, 3.36 million people participated in fishing for the first time – an increase of two percent since 2008.

"We’re delighted to see the number of newcomers is increasing year over year," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "The challenge lies in keeping people engaged in the sport. Eight million new or returning anglers participated last year, but more than 10 million dropped out. This is where we need ongoing programs that continue to engage them."

The third annual report provides detailed information on boating and fishing participation by gender, age ethnicity, income, education and geographic region. It was expanded in 2011 to look at the fishing "churn" rate, potential for new fishing participants and the use of technology.



More than 50 percent used a computer to search for information about outdoor recreation.
More than 40 percent used mobile technologies or the Internet to plan outdoor activities.
More than 35 percent shared their outdoor experiences with technology.

The average number of boating outings declined slightly, reducing total boating days from 705 million in 2009 to 676 million in 2010.
Boating participants spent an average of 13 days on the water.
Most boating participants enjoyed outings with friends (61.7 percent), and most outings were taken in fresh water (61.7 percent).
Almost 21 percent of boating participants rented or chartered a boat on vacation.
Bass boats are the most popular boat type at 21 percent, followed by bow rider/run about/jet boat at 13.8 percent.
The majority of owners (78.5 percent) own only one boat. Nearly 55 percent of boaters purchased their boat new, and of those, nearly 85 percent purchased from dealerships. Those buying used boats sourced them primarily from friends and newspaper ads.

In 2010, 45.4 million Americans participated in fishing (down from 48 million in 2009). This resulted in 925 million outings in 2010, with an average 20.4 days fishing last year.
Fishing continues to be recognized as a top "gateway" activity, spurring involvement in other outdoor interests.
Adults 18 and older with children in their households participate in fishing at higher levels than adults without children.
Freshwater fishing participation dominates all other fishing categories. Almost 39 million Americans (13.7 percent of the population) participated in freshwater fishing in 2010.
Saltwater fishing enthusiasts traveled the longest distance to engage in the sport. Almost 20 percent traveled a day or more on their last in-season trip.
Fly fishing skews heavily male, with males making up 78.9 percent of all participants.
.Hispanic Participation

3.4 million Hispanics participated in fishing in 2010 – up from 2.1 million in 2007.
Freshwater fishing is, by far, the most popular kind of fishing among Hispanics.
Hispanics that do fish, fish a lot—21.3 days. And of those who get out fishing, 65.4 percent are male.
Just over nine percent of Hispanic Americans are considering participation in fishing. Although females make up only 34.6 percent of current Hispanic fishing participants, more than half of those considering joining the sport are female. The top motivator is exercise at 46.2 percent, followed closely by simply thinking the outdoors is cool at 46.1 percent.
.Youth Participation

Fishing participation rates peak between the ages of six and 12 and then decrease during the adolescent years from 13 to 17.
Six million, or 21.9 percent, of those in the youngest age bracket participate in fishing, while just over four million, or 18.6 percent, of adolescents participate.
The loss rate from childhood to adolescents seems to be decreasing. In 2009, fishing saw a 6.4 percent gap between the six to 12 age bracket and the 13 to 17 age bracket. That gap narrowed to 3.3 percent in 2010.
Females and youth make up the highest proportion of new participants, representing a good long term growth target.
More than half of youth fishing participants (53.7 percent) also participated in boating in 2010.
."While overall fishing participation is down from 2009, we’re encouraged at the newcomer statistics and growth among potential new participants including Hispanics, youth and women," added Peterson. "This Special Report is full of valuable information to help stakeholders shape their future marketing and education programs."

The methodology and full study is available online at

About RBFF
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers’ Legacy™.

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