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#06-274 October 9, 2006  

Young anglers just want to have fun, survey finds

A youth fishing survey commissioned by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources found that having fun is the top reason listed by young people about why they go fishing.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently received results of a survey of youth participation in and attitudes toward fishing and aquatic resources in South Carolina. The study entailed a telephone survey of randomly sampled South Carolina youth, ages 8 to 18 in May through June 2006.

Responsive Management, a natural resources consulting company based in Harrisonburg, Va., developed the telephone survey questionnaire cooperatively with DNR, partly based on and compared with a previous survey conducted in 2001. The S.C. Natural Resources Board, the policy-making body of DNR, will release the entire survey results to the public after full review.

The survey found that to have fun is the top reason why youth go fishing, distantly followed by to be with family, to catch fish, and to relax. Conversely, the top reason why youth would not fish more often is lack of time, distantly followed by not being interested.

According to the survey, fathers are, by far, the most common fishing companions for South CarolinaChild fishing youth, distantly followed by friends the same age, grandfathers, mothers, brothers, and uncles. Fathers are, also, the most preferred fishing companions, followed distantly by friends, grandparents, mothers, aunts/uncles, and brothers.

When asked directly about parents’ participation in fishing, about three-fourths of South Carolina youth say that their father fishes, while 32 percent their mother fishes. Interestingly, males are more likely than are females to say that their father fishes. In follow-up questions, fathers are more avid than mothers in fishing, as fathers more often fish a lot more than do mothers.

More than a fifth of South Carolina youth have seen or heard information from teachers or other adults at school that helped them learn more about fishing or that increased their interest in fishing. A much higher percentage, 70 percent, say that they would like to learn more in school classes about fishing.
Limited time was the most commonly stated constraint on youth fishing participation, primarily because of school obligations. Other reasons given included other interests/hobbies/sports and work obligations. Youth in the higher grades are more likely than youth in lower grades to have time constraints because of a job or because of school obligations.

Anglers in South Carolina spend almost $742 million to fish each year, making the sport, with economic multipliers factored in, a billion dollar business in the Palmetto State. Check the DNR Web site at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish.html for information on fishing regulations, licenses and more.
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