Recently, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) released a report on fishing in America. The report includes freshwater and saltwater fishing numbers. The ASA is the fishing industry’s trade association that helps look out for the best interest of the sportfishing community.
Some of the numbers in the report are astounding. The 40 million anglers across the U.S. contribute more than $45 billion in retail sales. That is strong revenue and a big shot in the arm for the nation and the individual states. Those sales figures have a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy, creating about a million jobs.
I was surprised by some of the numbers in the report. Did you know more people fish than play golf and tennis combined? There are some 40 million folks who go fishing, compared to 24.4 million who play golf and 10.4 million who hit the tennis courts. Approximately 30 million of those anglers are older than 16.
In freshwater angling, one out of three are chasing the largemouth bass, which is America’s top game fish. On the saltwater side, the flounder is the most sought-after species. The three states with the most anglers are Florida, Texas and California.
But that’s not all. Roughly 25 percent of anglers are women. Around 45 percent of anglers come from cities with a population of 1 million or more. More than half of the anglers have a household income of more than $50,000 per year, while 17 percent have one more than $100,000 per year.
The top three states in jobs supported by fishing are Florida, Texas and Minnesota. Alabama has more than 800,000 anglers, with 700,000-plus being freshwater fish chasers. In Alabama, the economic impact from fishing creates almost 15,000 jobs on sales of close to $900 million.
The benefits are not just for the economy, but also for conservation and the future of fishing. The nation’s 40 million anglers contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to conservation and management. That amount is much more than any other group. Much of these dollars are from fishing license sales, which support the state fish and wildlife agencies.
Sportfishing and the economic impact would not be possible without the fish and quality habitat to support them. When we take a fishing trip, we are helping to create jobs and protect the resources for the future of fishing generations.