Press Releases

Overall 2009 Recreational Fishing License Sales Up
Sales up 4.7 percent according to industry state license sales index

ALEXANDRIA, VA (February 3, 2010) – In 2009 more anglers got out of the house and out on the water as fishing license sales rose by 4.7 percent in states that participate in the fishing license sales index released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas, four of the 12 participating states, are among the top ten states in terms of the impact anglers have on the nation’s economy.

The 12-state index represents recreational fishing in the United States. Eight of those states recorded higher license sales increases from January through December of 2009 over the previous year, according to Southwick Associates, a research firm that monitored the license sales information.

Although the RBFF/ASA Fishing License Sales Index is a strong indicator of fishing license sales, it isn’t an exact measure of all fishing license sales nationally. However, should the 4.7 percent rise hold true nationwide, it would represent one of the largest percentage increases in fishing license sales in over 30 years,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman.

“We feel confident that our national Take Me Fishing™ direct mail marketing program and other efforts designed to reach lapsed anglers contributed to the 2009 rise in fishing license sales,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson.

According to Southwick Associates, fishing license sales increased at a faster rate in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the second quarter. Increases of 20 percent or more were common in the first quarter. However, a larger volume of sales occurred in the second quarter – the peak period for license sales nationally – and had the greatest effect on 2009 sales. In general, more fishing licenses are sold during the second quarter (April, May, June) than any other time of the year. Although the growth rate for license sales eased slightly in the latter half of the year, sales were still up for a majority of states in the index.   

State natural resource agencies reporting license sales numbers in 2009 include Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Utah. They were selected on their ability to provide consistent license sales data to illustrate both a national and regional perspective. As more states expand their data reporting capacity, the number of reporting states will increase. For participating coastal states, adjustments were made to account for new federal saltwater license requirements that went into effect in 2009.

“The typical angler spends $176 a year on just fishing tackle alone and contributes over $40 annually to conservation via license dollars and excise taxes. When the license sales index moves by just a tenth of a point, 40,000 anglers have entered or quit sportfishing. Even a small uptick in the index represents big changes in recreational fishing participation,” said Nussman.

“While more people fishing is good news, what’s key to growing the sport is keeping them coming back every year and introducing newcomers at the same time. RBFF’s Take Me Fishing Web site, our education outreach and other integrated marketing efforts will continue to work to accomplish this goal,” said Peterson.

Ultimately, anglers, and other sportsmen and women, are the most significant funding source for conservation in the United States. Through the purchase of fishing licenses and special excise taxes on gear and motorboat fuel, hundreds of millions of anglers’ dollars each year are collected or funneled to states for conservation and recreation. In 2008, $720 million of these excise taxes were distributed for fisheries management and recreational boating enhancement. In addition, fishing license sales generated $600 million in revenue for state fish and wildlife agencies. 

About the American Sportfishing Association
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association, committed to looking out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice speaking out when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. We invest in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also represents the interests of America’s 60 million anglers who generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for over one million people.

About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (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™.

About Southwick Associates
Southwick Associates, located in Fernandina Beach, Fla., specializes in fish and wildlife economics and related business statistics.