Angler Recruitment and Retention Trends in Alberta
Since 1985, the number of licensed anglers in Canada has declined by 31% despite a 30% increase in the population over the same time frame. Anglers are also much older than they used to be, with the mean age of Canadian anglers increasing from 41 in 1975 to 50 in 2010, suggesting that decreased popularity is primarily due to poor recruitment of young anglers. Alberta trends mirror those observed nationally. Since 1985, the number of licensed anglers in the province has declined by 27%, while the population has grown by 38%. In 2010, the average age of Alberta anglers was 45. Recent licence sales data suggest the precipitous declines in anglers observed in the 1990s and early 2000s is over, but the fundamental question remains: What factors influence yearly angler licence sales in Alberta? In a time series analysis of per capita recreational angling licence sales since 1975 I found that licence cost (adjusted for inflation) followed by the number of trout stocked in the province had the best predictive power of future resident angler licence sales. As licence cost rose, licence sales were found to have declined, but sales increased as the number of trout stocked in the province increased. Although my analysis cannot identify causation, these relationships are intuitive and bear consideration when considering changes to licence fees or Alberta’s stocking program.
Alberta Environment and Parks
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