National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers 2018-2021 Executive Summary

The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) has today welcomed the release of the ABARES National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers 2018-2021.

After considering the report, AFTA President, Michael Starkey said: “This Survey is a critical tool in shaping the future direction of recreational fishing nationally and, as importantly, the recreational fishing industry whether at the retail, wholesale, manufacturer or charter fishing operator level across the nation.”

“AFTA has always been confident that our industry was growing, and this Survey reflects our industry’s strong position despite COVID lockdowns’ impacts. With 1 in 5 Australians (4.2m up from 3.4m in 2000) now participating in recreational fishing over 28 million fishing days a year, noting this measure does not include those under 18 years old or over 65.”

“Clearly, our AFTA members deserve a pat on the back for being the frontline drivers of this growth.”

“AFTA acknowledges that for the first time, the Survey has strengthened the focus toward the broader economic contribution of the recreational fishing industry and not just tackle sales as a value measurement.

“The value of the recreational fishing industry as an employer is in excess of 100,000 FTE jobs and on the whole contributes $11b directly and indirectly to the GDP across Australia.

“This proactive measurement model strengthens AFTA’s argument as we demonstrate the potential economic impacts of political decisions on our industry. “

“As AFTA has continually pointed out to our elected officials, Recreational fishing has substantial health benefits, both through exercise and, more particularly, mental health benefits. This has been validated in the Survey”.

In summary, the National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers 2018-2021 clearly demonstrates our industries’ contribution to the nation’s Triple Bottom Line (TBL) through Economic, Social & Environment contributions.”

Managing Director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), Dr Patrick Hone, said recreational fishing is an important part of Australian culture and contributes to our health and wellbeing.

“Timely research on recreational fishers is critical to informing fisheries management in a changing climate,” Dr Hone said.

“Critical to FRDC is investing in research to ensure scientific evidence underpins sustainable management of our aquatic resources for the benefit of all Australians – whether it’s for commercial or recreational purposes.

“This report will contribute to a body of knowledge that collectively we need to invest in to ensure that a pastime enjoyed by one in five Australians can be enjoyed now and for generations to come – tight lines.”

The National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers was supported by funding from the FRDC on behalf of the Australian Government.

The National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers can be found at: