​​​In 2015 (latest government figures available) there were approximately 3.2 million adult recreational anglers in Canada,  mainly concentrated in Quebec and Ontario, and over 33 million in the US (roughly 10% of the population in both countries). The total number of active adult anglers has stayed steady in Canada since 2005. The total number  of anglers (adults and minors) in Canada  reportedly grew to 8 million (Keep Canada Fishing) and to 46 million  in the US in 2016 (American Sportfishing Association (ASA). The average number of days fished per angler in Canada was 15, up from 13 in 2010, while in the US it was 16.  

In surveys commissioned by the ASA and conducted by Southwick Associates and Responsive Management, respondents identified a number of reasons why they liked to fish, including for the sport, recreation and fun, to be with family and friends, to be closer to nature and to actually catch and eat fresh fish.

There is no doubt that recreational fishing generates economic activity for many people in many different industries. In Canada in 2015, anglers contributed over $2.5 billion in direct recreational fishing expenditures . According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, each year more than $1 billion is generated by anglers for fisheries conservation and habitat restoration. But some anglers feel that fishing takes a physical toll on fish. Others would rather not think too much about it. The question is how can we keep fishing AND decrease the negative impact of angling? 

This website can help. Over the next pages, we look at a number of contentious issues, and propose options for fishing more ethically.

Ethical issues

Type your paragraph here.

soft plastic baits (SPB)

SPB have recently been in the spotlight due to concerns that these baits are not biodegradable and persist for many years in the environment. There is also concern that they can harm fish if ingested.

Ethical fishing is the website for anglers interested in using ethical fishing options to lessen the impact of angling on fish and the environment

Killing Fish

Ethical ways to kill fish you eat.

Pain in Fish

Scientists continue to explore pain in fish. Many anglers would rather give fish the benefit of the doubt. 

catch & release (C&R)

Catch and Release is an accepted practice in North America. Research indicates it has an impact on fish welfare.


Barbless hooks

From a fish welfare perspective the advantages of using barbless hooks

outweigh the disadvantages.

Live bait

For a number of reasons, certain jurisdictions do not allow fishing with live baitfish. Some anglers think it's unethical.