A national recreational fishing snapshot proves what all fishers already know – fishing is really good for well-being and health as well as for our State and national economies!
The National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishers , jointly carried out by ABARES, the University of Canberra and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation is the first survey of its kind in more than 20 years.
The results from the survey were revealed on Tuesday at the World Recreational Fishing Conference in Melbourne.
The survey shines a light on the well-being, social and family benefits of fishing, as well as its annual contribution of more than $11 billion to the national economy and its creation of 100,000 jobs, 9,380 of which are in WA.
The survey report shows that fishing’s popularity as an activity with Aussies is in a similar bracket to cycling, playing sports with others or jogging, with a third of adults taking part.
Furthermore, the 4.2 million Aussies (and more than 600,000 West Aussies) who fish have on average higher levels of well-being than none-fishers and those who fish more report even higher levels of well-being – proof that fishing really is good for you!
The importance of fishing demonstrated beyond debate
Fishing helps nurture family bonding, positive social connections, engaging with nature and helps achieve recommended levels of physical activity, the results of the survey illustrate.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “The survey has demonstrated beyond debate how important fishing is to our way of life and economy and how it is intrinsically in WA’s and the nations’ social and cultural DNA.
“There’s a clear link between fishing and well-being for individuals, families and the community as a whole and fishing connects people with nature – and this survey proves it.
“We have always known this to be the case in WA – in our recent survey of 6,000 West Aussies who fish for demersal species such as dhufish and pink snapper, the respondents reported the main reason they fish is for their mental health and well-being and for time spent on the water with family and friends.
“It’s also something we see every year on the West Aussie salmon run – a unique fishing and outdoors experience, when thousands of WA mums, dads and kids flock to some of the world’s best beaches to fish for these accessible sportfish, injecting $331 million a year into the economy in the process.
“A previous study Recfishwest initiated has shown that recreational fishing generates $2.4 billion for the WA economy and this latest study further highlights the economic and social value of fishing to the nation as a whole.
“This is why we need Government and policy-makers to understand fishing warrants a high level of investment of resources and the highest standard of management to ensure the community can attain the optimum benefits from our treasured fisheries.”
Recreational fishers also care about the environment with the vast majority of those surveyed identifying as good environmental stewards and participating in a range of environmentally beneficial activities.