Fish Ratings – San Francisco – 15 Nov 2020: Fish Ratings has revised the Outlook on Largemouth Bass’s Long-Term Fish Default Rating to Positive from Stable and affirmed the FDR at ‘BB+’ on a rise in the sale of fishing licenses in California, reportedly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Positive Outlook reflects expectations of better prospects for catch metrics under our revised rating case for 2020-2024 as the actual number of licenses sold in California, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, has already reached 1.87 million this year, by far exceeding our expectations.
Fishing has declined in popularity in California in recent years, but is undergoing a revival during the recent pandemic as Americans seek alternatives to overseas vacations in the face of heightened travel restrictions and the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.
“Both California fishing and hunting licenses sold are up bigtime this year,” Peter Tira, a department information officer, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Not since 2009 have we issued as many fishing licenses as we have so far in 2020, and the year is not over yet.”
While it might be expected that an increase in fishing would result in a weakening of Largemouth Bass’s credit metrics, in fact the reverse is true.
“If rating fish were as simple as that, you wouldn’t need analysts like us to run our fancy models and write these reports, would you?” spluttered Melville Humpback, senior ratings analyst at Fish Ratings.