Earlier this year, RBFF’s VP of Government and Industry Engagement surveyed all 50 state agencies to get a lay-of-the-land for license sales during the coronavirus pandemic. All 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, responded to the survey. It turns out the states had some great news to share—35 states showed increases in resident license sales in the first four months (January through April) of 2020.
Focusing on resident fishing license sales only, we saw a 10.2% increase, leading to more than 730,000 additional licenses sold through the beginning of the year. When factoring in the travel bans that many of the states have been under in 2020, the 4.9% overall increase for license sales (resident and non-resident) throughout the United States becomes even more impressive. Even more remarkable is that total license sales were up more than 40% in Louisiana, Minnesota, and South Dakota, with many others seeing increases well over the 20% mark.
These increases present a huge opportunity for our state agency partners. Focusing efforts on retaining these new customers, as well as promoting recruitment and all the benefits of fishing and aquatic conservation, is critical. New participants are at-the-ready and folks who haven’t gone fishing in years are dusting off their old gear. Here’s our chance to reignite their passion and encourage them to pass their knowledge on to the next generation.
Our plan is to contact our state agency partners in early September to get an update on license sales from January through August 2020.