fishing industry statistics

101 Fishing Industry Statistics for 2020

Are you curious about the state of the Fishing Industry in 2020? Then look no further.

We’ve curated, vetted, and categorized a list of up-to-date stats below. Click to jump to a category, or keep reading for our top fishing facts.

Top Fishing Industry Statistics

Both the commercial fishing market and the recreational fishing industry are showing steady growth in the United States [1]. NOAA fisheries are showing that the demand for seafood and marine fish species is growing around the world. This is positive news for the fishing market. With the total market value of the commercial fish industry at around 5.6 billion, we are seeing more opportunities for fishing vessels, aquaculture fish stocks and fish production around the world. The recreational fishing industry is growing too, with over 17% of all Americans taking to rivers last year to try to catch fish. Here are our top fishing industry statistics for 2020:

  1. In 2018 U.S. fishermen landed a total of 9.4 billion pounds of fish valued at $5.6 billion [1].
  2. In 2019 there were a total of 50.1 million Americans who were actively fishing [2].
  3. In 2019 there were a total of 880 million total fishing trips in the USA [3].
  4. 17% of all Americans went fishing at least once in 2019 [4]
  5. Americans who fished do so an average of 17.5 times per year [5].
  6. 91% of current fishing participants started fishing during childhood [6].

How Many Fishermen in the US?

In 2019 there were 50.1 million people who went fishing in the US [7].

Which state has the largest fishing industry?

In 2018 Fisheries of the United States reported Alaska as the state with the larges fishing industry with 5400 million pounds of fish landed. The second largest state was Louisiana with 1000 million pounds of fish landed. [8]

Fishing Market Research

Research reports suggest that the commercial fishing market size is growing. The recreational fishing industry is also increasing. We are seeing a higher demand for fishing equipment year over year. Over the past five years in North America the market trends are showing an increase in the number of jobs in the commercial fishing industry. Analysis of the market research reports from US Fish And Wildlife Service show remarkable market growth in the national increase in the demand for fishing licenses across the country too. Here are our top fishing market research statistics:

  1. 29.29m paid fishing license holders in the U.S. [9]
  2. $752.11m paid in fishing licenses in the U.S. [10]
  3. 21.22% of Americans bought fishing or hunting gear last year [11]
  4. Average US household spends $44.95 on hunting and fishing gear each year [12]

How much is the fishing industry worth?

In the USA the fishing industry (harvesters, processors, dealers, wholesalers, and retailers) generated $144 billion in sales, added $61 billion to the GDP [13]

How many people rely on the fishing industry?

According to NOAA 1.2 million people rely on the commercial fishing industry for jobs [14]

Fishing Demographics

The United States has one of the largest recreational fishing populations in the world. With over 49.4 million anglers taking to the water last year in the U.S we should break down the demographics of this population. The fishing participants surveyed in this report were all people who went to fish in the United States in 2019. Not only fly fishing, but participation in any type of fishing was included. We’ve broken down the fishing demographics as follows:

Gender

  1. 36%  are Female
  2. 64% are Male

Age

  1. 14% are aged 6-12
  2. 9% are aged 13-17
  3. 9% are aged 18-24
  4. 15% are aged 25-34
  5. 14% are aged 35-44
  6. 15% are aged 45-54
  7. 13% are aged 55-64
  8. 11% are aged 65+

Annual Income

  1. 16% have an annual income below $25,000
  2. 23% have an annual income from $25,000 – $49,999
  3. 20% have an annual income from $50,000 – $74,999
  4. 15% have an annual income from $75,000 – $99,999
  5. 27% have an annual income above $100,000

Education

  1. 17% have ≤ 8th Grade Education
  2. 8% have 1-3 Years Of High School Education
  3. 21% have Graduated High School
  4. 22% have 1-3 Years of College Education
  5. 22% have Graduated College
  6. 11% have completed Post Graduate Studies

Ethnicity

  1. 7% identified as Hispanic
  2. 79% identified as White
  3. 3% identified as Asian
  4. 7% identified as Black
  5. 1% were outside these classifications.

fishing demographics Source: RBFF Special Report on Fishing 2020 [15] fly fishing industry statistics

Fly Fishing Industry Statistics

When compared to freshwater and saltwater fishing it’s no surprise that fly fishing is not the most popular type of fishing. According to market research, from 2018 to 2019 the number of people going fly fishing in the united states grew to a record number of 7 million fly anglers! With fly fishing popularity on the rise, the market size is growing and we are seeing data to support this. Research reports show both retail sales and online fly fishing retailer sales have increased since the pandemic. People who fish are searching for new challenges and the growth rate of the fly fishing market share only supports this further. Here are this year’s most popular fly fishing statistics:

  1. From 2018 to 2019 the number of people who went fly fishing grew by 100,000 people. [16
  2. 2% of all Americans went fly fishing last year (around 7 million people). [17]
  3. There was a total of 76.7 million fly fishing trips last year in the US. [18]
  4. People who went fly fishing did so on average 10.9 times. [19]
  5. Males make up 70% of fly fishing participants, making it the most male-dominated fishing category. [20]

Fly Fishing Demographics

From last year the number of fly fishing women grew slightly. That said, while we are seeing the number of women fly fishing increasing, the American fly fishing industry consists of 70% male anglers. The fastest-growing demographic of fly anglers were the people who identified as Hispanic. In the United States, the number of Hispanic fly fishing participation grew by 10%. It’s safe to say the freshwater fishing (and saltwater) industries are larger but with over 7 million people taking to the sport, new fishermen (and women) are taking to this technical way of catching fish.45

Gender

  1. 30%  are Female
  2. 70% are Male

Age

  1. 9% are aged 6-12
  2. 9% are aged 13-17
  3. 9% are aged 18-24
  4. 19% are aged 25-34
  5. 15% are aged 35-44
  6. 14% are aged 45-54
  7. 13% are aged 55-64
  8. 11% are aged 65+

Annual Income

  1. 13% have an annual income below $25,000
  2. 20% have an annual income from $25,000 – $49,999
  3. 18% have an annual income from $50,000 – $74,999
  4. 15% have an annual income from $75,000 – $99,999
  5. 34% have an annual income above $100,000

Education

  1. 11% have ≤ 8th Grade Education
  2. 8% have 1-3 Years Of High School Education
  3. 18% have Graduated High School
  4. 19% have 1-3 Years of College Education
  5. 27% have Graduated College
  6. 18% have completed Post Graduate Studies

Ethnicity

  1. 12% identified as Hispanic
  2. 72% identified as White
  3. 5% identified as Asian
  4. 9% identified as Black
  5. 2% were outside these classifications.

Fly Fishing Annual Outings

  1. 38% of people who fly fished did so 1-3 times per year.
  2. 34% of people who fly fished did so 4-11 times per year.
  3. 14% of people who fly fished did so 12-23 times per year.
  4. 10% of people who fly fished did so 24-51 times per year.
  5. 3% of people who fly fished did so 52-103 times per year.
  6. 1% of people who fly fished did so more than 104 times per year.

fly fishing demographics Source: RBFF Special Report on Fishing 2020 [21]

How big is the fly fishing industry?

In the U.S the fly fishing industry is worth around $750 millon. [22]

How many people fly fish in the US?

In 2019 there were over 7 million people who fly fished in the U.S. [23]

Is fly fishing losing popularity?

No, in 2019 the number of people who went fly fishing grew from 2018 by 100,000 to a record number of 7 million. [24]

Why do people like fishing?

According to a 2020 study the most common reasons for people to go fishing include [25]: 

  1. Be with family and friends 59.1%
  2. Be close to nature 51.2%
  3. Enjoy the sounds and smells of nature 48.3%
  4. Observe scenic beauty 47.0%
  5. Get away from the usual demands 44.5%
  6. Keep physically fit 44.2%
  7. Be with people who enjoy the same things I do 39.3%
  8. Experience excitement and adventure 39.1%
  9. Develop my skills and abilities 28.6%
  10. Experience solitude 27.8%
  11. Be with people who share my values 24.0%
  12. Gain a sense of accomplishment 22.2%
  13. Because it is cool 21.0%
  14. Gain a sense of self-confidence 19.2%
  15. Talk to new and varied people 12.2%
  16. Other 5.1%

What is the most popular type of fishing?

According to a 2019 study the most common types of fishing were [26]:

  1. 78.1% of people who fished in America in 2019 were freshwater fishing.
  2. 26.2% of people who fished in America in 2019 were saltwater fishing.
  3. 13.8% of people who went fishing in America in 2019 were Fly Fishing.
  4. 13.4% of people who went fishing in America were both Fresh and Saltwater fishing.
  5. 3.0% of fishermen in America fish freshwater, saltwater and also fly fish.

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