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Economic Benefits of Angling

In the document published in 1991 by the Sports Council (‘Angling – An Independent Review’), the annual spend by anglers in the UK was calculated at £1.2 billion (£1,200,000,000), excluding VAT (see page 9). I did this research and believe it to be quite reliable, based as it was on 1989 socio-economic research using a representative base of about 1,200 anglers.

The 1994 research commissioned by the NRA (‘National Angling Survey 1994 – Fisheries Technical Report No.5′) concluded that there were 2.9 million freshwater and sea anglers in England & Wales. (If you add Scotland & Northern Ireland, I guess that the UK figure rises to about 3.5 million.)

In the same study, NOP estimated that coarse and game anglers in England & Wales spent £3.3 billion (£3,300,000,000) per annum. Clearly, the figure would have been higher had it encompassed Scotland & N.I., as well as sea anglers. (I think that this figure was far too large then; the real figure nowadays is nearer to £2-3 billion.).

In its ‘Charter for Angling’, the Labour Party estimated that the spend on angling was £5billion, but I don’t know the source of this nor whether it related to the whole of the UK.

The best figures I have seen recently on retail spend were those prepared by two members of ‘the trade’, separately! Rounded up, they suggest that, at retail prices, the tackle trade is worth about £325million, the bait trade a further £35 million, and magazine & books about £20 million.

Some of this information is repeated in the recent ‘Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries Review’. There is a useful section on pages 75-77 which is worth reading.


To the best of my knowledge there are no reliable data and no recent research into the number of jobs and job equivalents provided by angling.

My calculations suggest that direct employment by manufacturers, retailers, bait companies & independents is probably 5,000-6,000.

To this figure must be added employment in the angling media, the EA and other equivalent organisations, fish suppliers & other management personnel, and fishery owners, managers & agents. My guess is this employment would raise the grand total for the UK to 12,000-15,000 or thereabouts.

If we include job equivalents, a revised figure could climb to 20,000 and may reach the 26,000 figure I have seen quoted elsewhere (with no source attributed to it).


Prepared by: Dr Bruno Broughton
[email protected]

[Latest update: 24 September 2000]

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Dr Bruno Broughton

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