Highlights of Angler Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Literature

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Bob Byrne
Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation

Highlights of Angler Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Literature

This literature review is part of a larger project to assist the fishing community to develop a
strategic model to encourage the recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of anglers. This
review summarizes recent literature on angler R3 so those developing the model have a common
understanding of angler numbers, behaviors, churn rates, trends, motivations, barriers, potential
marketing strategies, and other issues that may affect R3 efforts. Both the literature review and
strategic model development are funded by a grant to the Aquatic Resources Education
Association from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

A similar process was used to develop the National Hunting & Shooting Sports Action Plan:
Strategies for Recruiting, Retaining and Reactivating Hunting and Shooting Sports Participants
(Frampton and Dunfee 2015). The Wildlife Management Institute and the Council to Advance
Hunting and the Shooting Sports coordinated that process. The Wildlife Management Institute
and Bob Byrne Consulting is facilitating the development of the angler R3 strategic plan.
The path to becoming an angler is similar to becoming a hunter. However, many of the steps to
becoming an angler may be abbreviated, simpler, or comparatively easier to negotiate. People
can—and do—move in and go out of the angling community with relative ease, resulting in a
larger and more dynamic population of anglers.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, as well as the American Sportfishing
Association, and others, have recognized the dynamics of this population for several years and
have invested considerable resources in researching general populations of anglers, as well as the
numerous angler sub-sets. A scan of the references used in this literature review reflects this

As a result of this investment, the angling community has an unprecedented understanding of
current, lapsed and past anglers, and is favorably positioned to improve existing, or develop new
strategies to become more effective at recruiting, retaining and reactivating anglers.
Reversing the trend in the long-term decline in angler participation is the overall goal of the yetto-be-drafted
strategic model. The strategic investment in human dimensions research by leaders
in the angling community, summarized in this literature review, will help create the framework
for a richer and robust R3 plan.