Policy Watch

L to R: ASA President Glenn Hughes; Florida Fishery Policy Director Kellie Ralston; Governor Rick Scott; and Keep Florida Fishing Director Gary Jennings.

On Friday 13, 2018 during ICAST, ASA & KFF hosted a Senate Candidate Forum where Gov. Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson spoke separately about the importance of recreational fishing and the sportfishing industry in Florida.

The following is a press release picked up by multiple local media outlets in Florida:
From Tuesday, July 10, through Friday, July 13, more than 15,000 attendees from around the globe met at the 61st ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Senator Bill Nelson discusses the issues with Florida Fishery Policy Director Kellie Ralston.

ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and is the largest sportfishing trade show in the world. ICAST, along with the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show and the Marine Accessories Pavilion, encompassed 220,000 net square feet of its new location in the North/South Building. ICAST hosted 626 exhibitors. There were more than 15,000 people registered for the show, including 1,154 people from 71 countries, which translates into a significant opportunity for exhibitors to do business on a global scale.

On Friday, July 13, Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott joined ASA and Keep Florida Fishing® separately to address leaders of the sportfishing community during an industry-sponsored candidate forum on conservation issues for the Florida U.S. Senate race. The event was sponsored by Yamaha, BoatUS, CCA Florida, Capitol Advocates, and Jones Walker.

“Fishing is more than a pastime in Florida: it’s part of our heritage. And I believe it’s part of our future. So, we must restore and conserve the lands and waters, the corals and the mangroves, and ultimately: the fish. The fishing industry supports thousands of jobs and helps our local economies in Florida,” said Sen. Nelson.

Governor Scott answers questions directed by Florida Fishery Policy Director Kellie Ralston.

“It was great to attend the ICAST show for the fifth year in a row and welcome anglers and visitors from across the world to Florida. Our fishing industry supports more than 128,000 jobs for Florida families, and we’ve worked hard to protect fishing opportunities in our state by offering license-free fishing days, fighting to expand the federal red snapper season and securing legislation to encourage safe boating. We have also stepped up and made major state investments in the natural resources that help make Florida the ‘Fishing Capital of the World,’ such as our iconic Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. I look forward to continue working with our fishing and boating partners both in Florida and in Washington in order to protect our natural treasures and make sure fishing remains a vital part of our state,” said Gov. Scott .

L to R: ASA President Glenn Hughes; Florida Fishery Policy Director Kellie Ralston; Senator Bill Nelson; Keep Florida Fishing Director Gary Jennings; ASA Conservation Director Mike Leonard; and ASA Vice President, Government Affairs Scott Gudes.

“ICAST is the world’s largest fishing tackle trade show and provides an exciting opportunity to demonstrate to our elected officials the importance of recreational fishing to Florida’s economy and culture. On behalf of Keep Florida Fishing, we thank Sen. Nelson and Gov. Scott for attending ICAST and sharing their visions for the future of Florida’s waters and the fishing community,” said Kellie Ralston, Florida Fisheries Policy director of the American Sportfishing Association .

“We are proud to host our annual ICAST trade show here in Central Florida and we appreciate the concern and attention provided us by Governor Scott and Senator Nelson. ASA is dedicated to projects such as Everglades restoration and the Gulf and Atlantic red snapper seasons, along with other issues that not only impact Florida anglers, but also those in the sportfishing and boating industries across the country who visit the Sunshine State,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes.

On the first day, the show also featured ‘Super Tuesday’, which includes the On the Water product demonstrations, the ICAST Cup Bass Fishing Tournament produced by FLW, and Florida Sportsman’s Bass & Birdies Classic golf/fishing tournament.

The ICAST2019 will be held from Tuesday, July 9, through Friday, July 12, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

For more information, please contact Florida Fisheries Policy Director, Kellie Ralston.