‘Does fishing have a future?’

Publish date:
An ‘Off the Hook’ pop-up stand in Hudson River Park, New York, June 2019. Photo: RBFF

An ‘Off the Hook’ pop-up stand in Hudson River Park, New York, June 2019. Photo: RBFF

As young people turn away from fishing, companies, schools and groups like the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation are looking for ways to “reel them back in.”

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the challenges in the recreational fishing industry, discussing the sport’s lack of diversity and problems with retention.

Children from ages 13 to 17 fish less than those aged 6 to 12, the article points out, adding that the trend is contributing to “a drastic decline in the popularity of fishing.”

The number of anglers in the U.S. increased from 33.1 million in 2011 to 35.8 million in 2016, but the number of total days they fished dropped dramatically, from 553.8 million to 459.3 million — a 17 percent decrease, according to the newspaper, citing data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“I go to all the industry meetings,” RBFF CEO Frank Peterson told the newspaper. “I’m a 67-year-old pale white male. I look out at the audience, and they all look like me. We need to attract more diverse audiences and women.”

The article criticized fishing companies at ICAST because most had marketing materials featuring white adult men holding big fish; an exception was Zebco, a company that featured young, racially diverse men and women engaging in various outdoor activities in addition to fishing.

At the same time, the article highlighted RBFF’s efforts to expand fishing’s base. The Take Me Fishing program and Vamos a Pescar, its Spanish-language counterpart, provide newcomers with everything they need to know — from tackle recommendations and knot-tying videos to finding a place to fish.

The newspaper also highlighted the Women Making Waves program, pointing out that although 45 percent of new anglers are women, they drop out of the sport at a much higher rate — only 19 percent of women identify as an angler.

“Fishing and boating participation won’t continue to grow unless we engage with youth and other non-traditional audiences,” RBFF marketing and communications senior vice president Stephanie Vatalaro told Trade Only Today. “I’m pleased to see fishing in the national spotlight, and hopeful this article will bring awareness to the issue and inspire industrywide action to ensure the future of the sport and help us meet our 60 in 60 goal.”

The 60 in 60 goal is the RBFF’s effort to recruit and retain 60 million anglers in 60 months.

The Wall Street Journal’s website draws 43.9 million visitors per month, according to RBFF


Registration for Outdoors Conference Opens

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s June 1-2 virtual conference will include speakers and presenters from government agencies and ORR member partners.

Yamaha Sees Double-Digit Growth in Q1

The marine segment was up 7.4 percent, driven by demand for outboards in North America and Europe but tempered by supply-chain logistics.

Orion Announces SafetyPro Training

The factory-authorized courses are designed “to educate retail associates on how to match a boater’s type of boating with the different signal kits that we offer.”

A Truce on Tariffs?

The E.U. will suspend the June 1 increase of its retaliatory tariffs and agreed to negotiate with the U.S. to end steel and aluminum tariffs.

Argos 3D Forward Looking Sonar

For 20 Years, FarSounder has been developing and manufacturing 3D forward-looking sonar for vessels of all sizes.

Dometic Marine Appoints Executives

The company promotes a 20-plus-year employee and adds a vice president of aftermarket sales and e-commerce.

IMEA Launches Scholarship Program

The International Marine Electronics Alliance aims to recruit students into the field of marine technology.

RBFF Campaign Reels in Awards

The fishing-and-boating advocacy group’s Get on Board campaign was recognized by two national public relations organizations.

Suzuki’s Clean Ocean Project

Testing of the engine manufacturer’s microplastics filtering device continues as it moves closer to production. The company also released its full-year financials.