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ASA News is the monthly e-newsletter from the American Sportfishing Association. Please scroll down for the complete document. Use the links in the right hand navigation under the specific topic area to access additional information.

For more information contact Communications Director Mary Jane Williamson, (703) 519-9691, x227.

A Message from ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman

John Jilling Retires as Head of Eagle Claw

KeepAmericaFishing Update

  • Win The Ultimate Sportfishing Experience

Government Affairs Update

  • Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Meetings
  • Onerous Fish Stocking Regulations Rejected in California
  • NC Seeks Game Fish Designation for Striped Bass, Red Drum and Spotted Sea Trout
  • Alaskan Halibut Allocation Ruling Postponed until 2013
  • WA State Proposal Threatening Sportfish Funds Defeated
  • Federal Agencies Propose New Policy for Endangered Species Act Implementation

ICAST Update

  • Visit the New and Improved ICASTfishing.org
  • ICAST Registration Opens January 16
  • Connect with ICAST on Linkedin

Sportfishing Data and Statistics

  • Overall Fishing Tackle Imports Decline in 2011 Third Quarter
  • New Trade Data Available on ASA's Website

John Jilling Retires as Head of Eagle Claw
John Jilling has retired as President of Wright & McGill, Co., after nearly 40 years with the company and 13 years as its President. John will remain active with the company as a board of directors member and as an advisor to the executive staff. Donn Schaible, who has been with Wright & McGill for nearly 14 years, has been named the company’s new President. John was a long-time supporter of ASA having served on the board of directors for eight years and served for many years on the Show (ICAST) committee and other committees. Noteworthy is that Wright and McGill was one of the companies to exhibit at the Fishing Tackle Trade Show, held at the Hotel Sherman in July 1958 which was the first industry trade show produced by the Associated Fishing Tackle Manufacturers. ASA's board of directors, members and staff thank John for his many years of service and support.

Win the Ultimate Sportfishing Experience
To celebrate achieving more than 500,000 members, KeepAmericaFishing and GAFF Magazine are offering anglers the chance to win the Ultimate Sportfishing Experience. Show your support for fisheries conservation and “like” KeepAmericaFishing or GAFF Magazine on Facebook now through February 29, 2012, to enter to win “the adventure of a lifetime” for two in beautiful Islamorada, Fla., complete with complimentary airfare and car rental, resort lodging and dining, full- and half-day chartered fishing trips, fishing gear, apparel and much more. Kurt Artecona, CEO of GAFF Entertainment says, “We are honored to partner with KeepAmericaFishing to protect the sport we love for generations to come.” To learn more about fisheries conservation and enter The Ultimate Sportfishing Experience, visit www.KeepAmericaFishing.org/ultimategiveaway. See Terms and Conditions. Restrictions do apply.

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Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Meetings
The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees have established a draft plan of early restoration projects and are seeking public review and comment. The plan describes eight projects, two each in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The projects are intended to benefit injured marshes, coastal dune and nearshore habitats, oysters and human uses. The Trustees will hold public meetings in all four Gulf states as well as Washington, D.C. Click here for the meeting schedule.

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Onerous Fish Stocking Regulations Rejected in California
In response to strong angler opposition, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) rejected onerous regulations during its December meeting that would have created a substantial burden on private landowners who wish to stock and manage ponds and lakes on their property, costing up to $100,000 per body of water for environmental impact studies. Businesses that offer fishing on private lakes would likely either have been put out of business by the fees associated with these rigorous protocols, or been forced to significantly increase the cost for visiting angler.
More than a thousand anglers sent messages to the FGC through KeepAmericaFishing™ in opposition to these burdensome regulations. For more information, contact Policy Fellow Alyssa Hausman, x244.

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NC Seeks Game Fish Designation for Striped Bass, Red Drum and Spotted Sea Trout
A special joint legislative committee seeks to designate striped bass, red drum and spotted sea trout as game fish in North Carolina state waters. By designating these three species as game fish, they will be managed solely as recreational fish for the use and enjoyment of the public. Striped bass, red drum and spotted sea trout represent only 2 percent of North Carolina's commercial harvest with a $1.5 million economic impact, while recreational fishing for these fish contributes more than $140 million annually to North Carolina's economy. Similar measures in South Carolina, Florida and Texas have resulted in healthier and more abundant fish populations in their waters with the associated economic benefits. The Coastal Game Fish Bill will limit these fish to recreational take, improving the quality of recreational fishing and boosting North Carolina’s economy.

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Alaskan Halibut Allocation Ruling Postponed until 2013
Due to overwhelming public comment, NOAA Fisheries is postponing a rule that would give 30 percent of the halibut charter fishing allocation to commercial fishermen in southeastern Alaska. If implemented, the regulation would cut the daily bag limit for charter recreational fishing anglers from two to just one fish per day, reducing demand for these charter businesses and hurting the economies of Alaska’s small communities. NOAA Fisheries is delaying consideration of the rule until 2013 in an effort to gather more information on its potential impacts. The daily bag limit will remain two fish per angler per day in 2012.

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WA State Proposal Threatening Sportfishing Funds Defeated
Governor Gregoire’s initial 2011‐2013 supplemental budget for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), $1.5 million in recreational fishing license fees would have been diverted to subsidize fish hatchery operations that largely serve commercial fishing interests. This diversion would have eroded faith in the state’s use of recreational user fees and likely jeopardized the state’s receipt of its Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund state apportionment of $7.8 million. The sportfishing community helped defeat the supplemental budget and its harmful impacts on fisheries management and conservation. For more information, read ASA’s letter to Governor Gregoire or contact ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson, x237.

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Federal Agencies Propose New Policy for Endangered Species Act Implementation
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) have proposed a new policy that accelerates the process by which species or populations of species are eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The policy would clarify that the FWS and NOAA Fisheries could list a species if it is endangered or threatened in a “significant portion of its range,” even if that species is not endangered or threatened throughout all its range. While the agencies aim to more effectively conserve declining species, ASA is concerned that such a policy may ultimately serve to restrict public access as is the case in Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area. ASA will continue to monitor the rulemaking process to limit any threats to sportfishing that the proposed policy may pose. For more information, read the FWS press release.

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Visit the New and Improved ICASTfishing.org
The website for the world’s largest sportfishing trade show has a new look! ICAST launched a new and improved ICASTfishing.org that has an easy-to-navigate interface and provides important information for exhibitors, attendees and media. Be sure to check out the new website.

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ICAST Registration Opens January 16
ICAST 2012 is fast approaching. Online registration for exhibitors and attendees will open on Monday, January 16. You can register for the show and make hotel reservations on ICASTfishing.org. Please note that ICAST is open only to qualified members of the sportfishing trade.

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Connect with ICAST on Linkedin
You now have another way to stay connected with the latest news about the world largest sportfishing trade show and network with colleagues in the fishing industry: Linkedin. You can join by visiting our Linkedin page. Please note, you must be a verifiable member of the sportfishing industry in order to join this Linkedin group.

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Overall Fishing Tackle Imports Decline in 2011 Third Quarter
Tackle import values decreased slightly in the third quarter of 2011 from the same quarter in 2010, which includes artificial baits, leaders, all reels and reel parts and accessories. However, fishing nets, rods, line, hooks and snelled hooks showed increases. Overall, imports were down nearly 5 percent compared to the same quarter last year and were down slightly from the last quarter.

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New Trade Data Available on ASA's Website
Each month, the latest sportfishing industry statistics are posted online by the American Sportfishing Association. Learn the latest about tackle imports, fishing participation, sales of retail brands, online tackle sales and more.

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A Message from ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman
If you’re like me, you’re probably turning your focus to the new year with all the opportunities and challenges it brings, both seen and unforeseen. And for those of you in the business world, no matter how well we plan, it’s those unforeseen events that can reach out and bite us.In my discussion with board members and other ASA members, what seems to be front and center on many of our minds is the latest round of new restrictions on fishing and fishing access. For the first time in our nation’s history, every marine fish stock under federal management now has an annual catch limit and accountability measures in place. What continues to confound the recreational fishing community is that so many of these new catch limits are based on incomplete, flawed or even non-existent data. So what may seem on the surface like a productive step forward for marine fisheries management will likely result in harsher restrictions and closures due to the guesswork that went into this decision. As you all know, guesswork has no place in business management of any kind, but the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service doesn’t seem to hold itself to that same standard.In the ongoing soap opera called The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, after a lengthy, biased and outright dishonest regulatory policy process, southern California’s coastal waters are now covered in a patchwork of no-fishing zones. But I assure you, the fight is not over. We are still battling these regulations in court and we’ll continue to keep you up to date on that process. Even in Florida, the acknowledged “Fishing Capital of the World,” managers at Biscayne National Park, a very popular urban fishing area in the Miami area, are proposing to ban fishing and boating in a massive section of the park despite opposition from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the park’s own stakeholder working group.

Is it lack of funding causing this? A fundamental shift in fisheries management philosophy? Or are people just too much trouble to be allowed to use what are our public resources? Like an onion, we’re trying to peel away the layers of these issues to ensure angler access to recreational fishing.While it’s human nature to focus on the negative, it’s important that attention is paid to the numerous positive initiatives that we want to see come to fruition this year. On the legislative front, ASA is in the thick of efforts to pass bills to fund aquatic habitat restoration across the country; make fishing a priority on federal public lands; and designate striped bass, red drum and speckled trout as game fish in North Carolina. Through the FishSmart program, ASA has a lead role in the effort to develop and implement techniques to increase the survival of released fish, particularly with marine fisheries. Our KeepAmericaFishing initiative is the fastest growing online community of anglers, with more than 500,000 anglers lending their voices to the fight to keep our public waters open, clean and abundant with fish.This year, we’re back in Orlando from July 11 – 13, at the Orange County Convention Center for the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. In 2009, our first show in Orlando in a decade, we had record attendance and we have every expectation that 2012 will be another banner year. With nearly 80 percent of the show floor sold, booth space for ICAST 2012 is tracking ahead of last year. If you’re considering exhibiting at ICAST 2012, I encourage you to contact ICAST Director Ken Andres now while you still have an opportunity to choose a booth location. Show registration opens on Monday, January 16. We’ve made online show registration and housing reservations easier than ever by integrating the process. This year, we completely revamped the ICAST website improving navigation and making information much easier to find.I also encourage you to mark your calendars for the 2012 Sportfishing Summit being held October 9-11 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort. With the board of directors direction, we’re planning an outstanding agenda that will balance business with the fishing opportunities that abound in that area.Folks, it’s going to be a busy year for everyone in the recreational fishing industry, the community and your association. So, on that note; happy new year and I look forward to seeing you this year.

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