Australian tackle trade worth A$11bn to economy

The true value of recreational fishing to the Australian economy has been revealed in a landmark report – detailing its A$11 billon worth and the fact it accounts for around 100,000 jobs.

The National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers, jointly conducted by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the University of Canberra and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, is the first national survey of its type in over 20 years.

It also details the role the sport plays in conservation and, most importantly, how it contributes to society in terms of wellbeing.

ABARES executive director, Dr Jared Greenville, explained that the survey provides a contemporary picture of recreational fishing in Australia, including information on participation rates, as well role in both the economy and society at large.

“A total of 4.2 million – or one in five adult Australians – were estimated to participate in recreational fishing each year. The number of recreational fishers has increased since 2000 as the population has also increased, however the proportion of fishers has remained relatively stable overall.”

He continued: “Australians were estimated to spend 28 million days fishing each year. While most recreational fishers fish fewer than five days a year, a small proportion fish more than 52 days a year.

“Recreational fishers were found to have, on average, higher levels of wellbeing than non-fishers, and those who fish more often have higher wellbeing. Recreational fishing appeared to support positive social connections, nature connection, relaxation and can help achieve recommended levels of physical activity.

“The survey results also showed that most Australians have a positive outlook on recreational fishing, with 79 per cent of adults considering recreational fishing to be an acceptable activity.

“Recreational fishers also contribute to environmental stewardship by picking up rubbish when out fishing, while some participate in habitat restoration activities or donate to organisations trying to improve aquatic health.”

Managing director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), Dr Patrick Hone,o utlined how recreational fishing is an important part of Australian culture and contributes to the nation’s 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.

You can read the survey here:


Key stats

  • 4.2 million Aussies fish or one in five adults
  • Worth more than $11.5 billion to GDP per annum
  • Supports over 100,000 jobs each year
  • Three quarters of recreational fishers participating in litter clean ups or habitat restoration projects
  • People who fish found to have, on average, higher levels of wellbeing than non-fishers
  • Fishing is perceived positively by non-fishers
  • Fishing helps nurture family bonding and positive social connections