Fishing is essential to our industry

The importance of fishing to our industry should not be overlooked. Some recent actions and numbers shed light on why it is so essential.

In April last year, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) launched its '60 in 60' initiative to grow participation to 60m anglers in 60 months. Research suggested that 60m anglers could mean 7.5m new boaters.

At the beginning of May this year the NMMA announced it is realigning its focus on its fishing-centric shows and is closing the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow as it expands the Saltwater Fishing Expo, moving it from the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ to the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, NJ. “Fishing is the number one activity done from a boat and plays a critical role in the larger boating industry ecosystem, making it a continued priority for NMMA,” noted Ben Wold, executive VP of NMMA, who oversees its boat shows and sportshows.

A week later the RBFF announced that fishing participation has increased. The increase is being reported by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Outdoor Foundation and the numbers are impressive.

The second most popular outdoor activity for adults (age 25+) after running was fishing (fresh, salt and fly) with 14.6% of adults or 31.5m participants. Fishing was the third most popular (after running and bicycling) for youth and young adults (ages 6 to 24) with 19.5% of youth or 15.3m participants. kayak fishing, in particular, has shown tremendous growth from just over 1m in 2010 to 2.37m in 2016. One of the reasons for this is that kayaks can go where powerboats cannot.

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