May 15, 2020
While fishing continues to be a popular activity both in Florida and nationally, growth in the sport has not kept up with population
increases. The USFWS reported there were 29,409,950 licensed anglers in the U.S. in 2016, with 1,513,696 being Florida resident and
non-resident licensed anglers.
Furthermore, the 2018 Special Report on Fishing, a partnership project between the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation, determined that in 2017 “49.1 million Americans, ages 6 and up, participated in fishing at least once during the calendar year.” Between 2004-2013, angler participation rates at the national level declined slightly; however, recent increases may indicate a renewed interest in the sport. Nationally, anglers over 50 years of age make up the largest segment of participants.
In Florida, anglers between the ages of 50-59 who have purchased a fishing license, tackle and boating equipment at a high rate are approaching the age where they will no longer be required to purchase a fishing license. Resident anglers age 65 and older are not required to purchase most recreational licenses in Florida.
These Baby Boomers need to be retained, and the FWC will communicate the importance of these anglers’ contributions to conservation efforts. New efforts will focus on recruiting Millennials between the ages of 18-24 and youth under age 18, known as Generation Z. Millennials have a lower purchasing rate than those in the Baby Boomer generation, therefore the FWC must be proactive and begin planning to ensure that future generations continue to participate in fishing.
The 2018 Special Report on Fishing focuses on age participation percentages and reemphasizes that anglers 45 years of age and older are the largest group of angling participants, comprising nearly 39% of the angling community
The FWC strives to increase and diversify participation in fishing throughout Florida via an effort known as R3, which stands for Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation. The R3 initiative helps create the next generation of anglers who have a vested interest in conserving and managing Florida’s natural resources.
For more information we have included the R3 Fishing Action Plan in PDF Format below.