The 2020 Special Report on Fishing found that:
- 3.7 million African Americans participate in fishing, an increase of nearly 1 million over the last 10 years.
- Hispanic Americans are participating at a new record of 4.4 million participants.
- Women are also participating at an all-time high of 17.9 million participants.
- Overall, more than 50 million Americans participate in fishing, the highest number in 12 years.
- The activity gained more than 3 million new participants last year, the highest in five years.
"The outdoors belongs to all of us — not just those who fit a certain image," said Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for RBFF. "Fishing is about enjoying nature, making memories and bonding with the people you love. It's an experience that everyone should get a chance to have, which is why our work is grounded in the belief that the water is open to everyone."
The new participation data comes as Americans overall take increased interest in fishing as a remedy for COVID-19-related stress and anxiety. According to a separate study, 1 in 5 Americans are more likely now to try fishing than they were prior to the pandemic. Among parents, the statistic is 1 in 4.
"Social distancing has taken a sizable toll on our collective mental health," said Vatalaro. "But being on the water has been shown in studies to have a calming effect that can help treat stress and anxiety naturally. Fishing — and by extension, boating — are excellent ways to practice self-care and recreate responsibly."
To help further increase diversity in fishing and boating, RBFF has launched a new public service initiative called Get On Board in partnership with Discover Boating. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the ways people from all walks of life can support their mental health and wellness on the water.