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ASA hands out honours to industry and legislative leaders

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Glenn Hughes (left) with Dave Bulthuis (centre) and Chris Megan.
↑ ASA President, Glenn Hughes (left), with Jeff Pontius and Chris Megan, ASA Board Chairman.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) honoured three people at this week’s Summit with its highest honours.

Lifetime Achievement Award

ASA’s most prestigious award was presented to long-time ASA member and industry leader, Dave Bulthuis, Vice President, Industry Relations and Government Affairs for Costa. Bulthuis was recognized for his extraordinary leadership and lifelong commitment to recreational fishing and the sportfishing industry.

He was an integral figure on ASA’s Board of Directors for eight years, including as Chairman of the Board from 2015 through to 2016.

Future of Fishing Award

ASA’s Future of Fishing Award was presented to long-time ASA member, Jeff Pontius, recently retired from his role as President and CEO for Zebco Brands. He was presented this award for his commitment to recreational fishing’s future through growing participation in the sport and his leadership in the industry’s trade association.

Pontius served as an ASA Board of Directors member from 2005 to 2012, including as Chairman from 2009 to 2010. After a brief hiatus, he was voted back onto the Board in 2014 where he served until his retirement in 2018.

“Throughout their careers, both Jeff and Dave have demonstrated amazing leadership and dedication to their respective companies, the industry and to the American Sportfishing Association,” said ASA President, Glenn Hughes. “Their willingness to go the extra mile and do what it takes to get people out on the water has had a positive impact on our sport. On behalf of all ASA’s members – and anglers everywhere – I say, ‘Thank you and congratulations!'”

Legislative Champion Award

This year, ASA presented a Legislative Champion Award to California state Senator Ben Allen (26th District) in recognition of his commitment to fisheries conservation and recreational fishing’s future.

Senator Allen introduced the bill to end commercial drift gillnet fishing which was signed into law by Governor Brown in September. The legislation phases out the use of mile-long nets that drift in the open ocean, compensates drift gillnet fishermen and encourages a transition to innovative new sword fishing gear.

“Senator Allen’s leadership and tireless efforts to phase out drift gillnets off the California coast are responsible for this landmark victory for anglers, recreational fishing-dependent businesses and marine conservationists not only in California, but nationwide,” said ASA Government Affairs Vice President, Mike Leonard. “His dedication to the issue and willingness to work with all parties to find the best path forward were instrumental in the bill’s ultimate success, and we are proud to award him as Legislative Champion.”

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