While fly clubs focus recruitment to replace their declining ranks, and the Membership Chair attempts to lure any demographic other than aging Boomers, their issues may mirror an overall decline in anglers as a byproduct of the US population becoming “fish averse” and “chicken centric.”
Declining sales of seafood reflect a population leery of fish on numerous levels, including; elevated mercury, the pen-raised versus wild caught controversy, increased prices, and unfamiliarity with preparation.
… problems include the confusion and mixed messages surrounding claims that certain types of seafood are high in mercury, fears stirred up by organizations opposed to growing genetically modified salmon, a lack of awareness of which types of fish are healthy, and a failure of the industry and supermarkets to better promote fish. MSN Money
Couple those issues with the information (or disinformation) prevalent with environmental issues, the perceived rape of third world coastal fisheries by developed nations and their fleets of factory ships, and the uninitiated may feel the entire fishing experience off-putting.
Fisherman have always hated the taste of fish so we’re not helping things either…
Seafood company officials aspire to emulate the chicken industry, where consumption has boomed to nearly 82 pounds in 2012 from 34 pounds in 1965. If the industry can ease consumer fears and develop more convenient products, John Connelly, president of industry trade group National Fisheries Institute, said at the Boston show that there’s "nothing to preclude us from having the kind of exponential growth the poultry industry had." MSN Money
While I adore an optimist, Mister Connelly’s note above suggests there are “exponential fisheries left unexploited” that he can use to supply all those new converts with chow. I would assume seafood harvests are now in decline as all known fisheries are under harvest.
Any thoughts of explosive growth in seafood consumption should likely be accompanied with a couple of new oceans, and a continent or two.