Market segmentation, motivations, attitudes, and preferences of Virginia resident freshwater anglers

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Virginia Tech

For many years, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has managed freshwater fisheries without fully understanding their stakeholders. To increase its knowledge and improve management, the VDGIF commissioned a market segmentation study to collect baseline information about its constituents and serve as a model for future studies. I developed a 16-page mail questionnaire that was sent to a stratified random sample of 5,378 Virginia resident freshwater fishing license holders. The questionnaire was use to collect information on characteristics, motivations, attitudes, and preferences of Virginia resident freshwater anglers. The response rate was 52%.

I examined the descriptive characteristics of resident freshwater anglers and anglers who purchased different types of licenses and anglers from different management regions. Differences in fishing behaviors, motivations for fishing, attitudes, and preferences for management existed among anglers based on license type and regions. Although satisfaction with freshwater fishing was high, in most cases, many anglers believed that fishing quality had declined. By adopting a marketing approach and providing the desired experiences to each segment of anglers, the Fisheries Division may improve its relationship with anglers, as well as increase participation and satisfaction.

I also segmented the Virginia anglers by species preference, specialization, and a multi-level approach that involved a combination of species preference and specialization. Anglers are not a homogenous group and they seek different experiences. Multi-level segmentation was the most useful method of segmentation because it identified within-species preference group differences. Within each species preference group I found several segments of anglers. Segments differed in their orientations (trophy or consumptive), preferred methods of fishing and information sources, and support for regulations. Specialist anglers from each species preference group were trophy oriented and some were consumptive oriented as well. Specialists also were the most supportive of restrictive regulations. Less specialized anglers in each species preference group generally were less trophy oriented, more consumptive, and less supportive of regulations than specialist anglers. My results provide better understanding of the different segments of anglers within each species preference group, which will allow managers to provide a more satisfying experience for their stakeholders.

Virginia, angler survey, angler specialization, market segmentation