Symposium Summary: An Examination into Influencing the Future of Angling Participation to Sustain Conservation Support

Sponsors: AFS Socioeconomics Section, Fisheries Management Section, and Fisheries Administration Section

Despite continued population growth, the number of people participating in angling has stagnated and, in some cases, declined in recent years. This lack of growth threatens to erode away the multitude of diverse and substantial benefits society reaps from angling participation and threatens funding for fisheries conservation efforts. The AFS Fisheries Administration, Fisheries Management, and Socioeconomic Sections partnered to convene professionals from state and federal agencies, universities, foundations, and other non-profit organizations to discuss the future of angling participation. This symposium stretched across three days of the meeting and included 50 oral presentations. Presentations covered a plethora of issues surrounding angling participation, including sections on human dimensions of angling; marketing research, recruitment and retention; aquatic education and urban/community fisheries programs; fishing access issues; constraints and barriers to participation; use of partnerships; license packaging impacts; communication strategies; and influences of regulation on angling participation. The symposium concluded that we are witnessing several paradigm shifts in angling and conservation, including divergence from the traditional angler-centric model, and a gradual acceptance of anglers and other outdoor participants as customers as opposed to merely users. Read the abstracts here.

—Tom Lang, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Wes Neal, Mississippi State University