Participation top of the agenda at ASA Summit
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Participation was the main focus for 220 fishing and boating delegates when they met for the annual American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Sportfishing Summit in New Orleans last weekend.
The Summit is the US industry’s premier networking and business management event and the agenda was geared heavily towards reversing a decline that impacts on the nation’s economy, conservation efforts and the fishing and boating industries.
The Summit heard how current participation trends show younger, more diverse audiences are reluctant to take up fishing and boating, while older white males are ageing out of the sport.
To address the situation the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) has launched an initiative to reach 60 million anglers in 60 months, coined ’60 in 60’.
The aspirational goal will need the support of the industry, delegates heard. Work to define, develop and lead the community in implementing standardised recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) efforts is already underway.
ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman told attendees that despite public access and water quality issues, anglers continue to fish and spend time outdoors. “A growing interest in the outdoors is helping fuel angler participation, which bodes well for our industry,” he said.
Also during the Summit, the ASA recognised a number of congressional, industry and conservation leaders. A Lifetime Achievement Award went to fisheries management and conservation leader Jim Martin of Oregon. Martin was formerly Fish Chief for Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife and Director of Pure Fishing’s Berkley Conservation Institute.
The ASA’s Future of Fishing Award went to Nick Wiley, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, for his commitment to conservation and fisheries management.
This year’s ASA Congressional Champion Award was presented to Rep. Garret Graves, in recognition of his contribution to fisheries conservation and fishing’s future.
ASA Executive Committee appointments were as follows: Chairman – Kirk Immens, President of Sportco Marketing, Inc.; Vice Chairman – Chris Megan, publisher/owner, On the Water, LLC; Secretary – Zack Swanson, Vice President, Sales, Rapala; Treasurer – Donn Schaible, President, Wright & McGill Co.; Treasurer Emeritus – Peter Foley, President, Boone Bait Company, Inc.; At-Large – Gary Remensnyder, President, Lew’s Fishing Tackle; Immediate Past Chairman – Dave Bulthuis, Vice President of Sales, Costa. Ex officio members: Kenneth Hammond, CEO, The Hammond Group; Ken Eubanks, Senior Vice President and General Manager of North America, Pure Fishing, Inc.; Carey Graves, Vice President of Sales, Daiwa Corporation.