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

Fishing License Sales Up 30 Percent in the First Quarter

Government Affairs Update

  • Monumental Sportsmen’s Legislation Clears House of Representatives
  • Congressional Hearing Addresses Park Service Access Issues
  • New Hampshire Anglers Face an Expanded Ban on Lead Fishing Tackle
  • FishSmart Workshops Help Solve Fishing Challenges
  • U.S. Forest Service Releases Final Planning Rule

ICAST Update

  • Thank You ICAST 2012 Sponsors
  • ICAST Wins High Marks From Trade Show News Network
  • ICAST 2012 Show Highlights and Events
  • ICAST 2012 Business Seminars Conference

New Take Me Fishing Advertising Lures Folks to “Mother Nature’s Waterpark”

Fishing License Sales Up 30 Percent in the First Quarter
According to Southwick Associates, from January through March 2012 fishing license sales increased 30 percent compared to the first quarter in 2011. Southwick attributes the increase to the warm weather and largely favorable fishing conditions across the country compared to the cold, wet first quarter in 2011. This report is based on license sales reported by 13 states strategically selected across the U.S. Twelve of the thirteen states reporting into the fishing license sales index recorded sales increases in the first quarter. For more information, contact Rob Southwick at (904) 277-9765. The index is a cooperative project between the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.

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Monumental Sportsmen’s Legislation Clears House of Representatives
On April 17, by a wide bipartisan margin, the House of Representatives approved a bill that contains language that would block ongoing, unjustified efforts by anti-fishing groups to ban lead fishing tackle by petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using a provision in the Toxic Substance Control Act. The Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012, H.R. 4089, establishes an exemption for traditional fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act and clarifies the exemption that already exists for the shooting and hunting sports. The bill contains several provisions addressing other concerns, including angler and hunter access to federal lands. The Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 promotes increased and more consistent access for hunting and fishing on federal public lands by directing public managers to facilitate recreational fishing and hunting on public lands and waters through their agencies' land management plans. ASA continues to monitor this legislation to ensure that these concerns are swiftly addressed.

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Congressional Hearing Addresses Park Service Access Issues
On April 27, in response to an increasing trend within the National Park Service to disregard its mission of providing access to sportsmen and women in our nation’s beloved national parks, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held an oversight hearing titled “Access Denied: Turning Away Visitors to National Parks.” Access issues at two popular national parks, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, in North Carolina and Biscayne National Park in Florida, were discussed in detail by the subcommittee. ASA member, Karl Crook, president and CEO of Crook & Crook Fishing and Marine Supplies in Coconut Grove, Fla., testified before the subcommittee and noted that the National Park Service has not adequately considered the impacts the proposed closure would have on anglers and recreational fishing-dependent businesses. ASA has been actively engaged with the Park Service over access issues to these and other national parks for many years. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) have introduced legislation (S. 2372), which will allow reasonable ORV and pedestrian access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area while also providing shorebird and resource protection. S. 2372 mirrors legislation that that Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) introduced in February (H.R. 4094).

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New Hampshire Anglers Face an Expanded Ban on Lead Fishing Tackle
On March 28, the New Hampshire Senate passed legislation (SB 224) that will expand current restrictions on the use of lead sinkers and jigs in state waters. The Senate adopted an amendment, supported by loon preservation advocates and lake shore owners, which would further expand the proposed ban by prohibiting the use of any lead jig measuring 2.5 inches or less. On April 24, the New Hampshire House of Representatives held a legislative hearing on SB 224. Hundreds of anglers sent messages opposing this legislation through KeepAmericaFishing™, which also encouraged anglers to attend the April 24 hearing and voice their opposition. It appears that SB 224 will be sent to an Interim Study Committee and will not be acted upon in the current legislative session. Current regulations banning the use of lead jigs measuring one inch or less are already onerous and have impacted the ability of New Hampshire's anglers to enjoy the sport.

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FishSmart Workshops Help Solve Fishing Challenges
Through the FishSmart program, anglers, industry and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) continue to explore development and implementation of techniques to improve the survivability of caught and released fish. ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman recently attended the first in a series of region-specific FishSmart workshops planned for 2012. This first workshop, held in Florida, focused on the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic fisheries. For more information, visit NOAA’s FishSmart website or contact Ocean Resource Policy Director Mike Leonard, x230.

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U.S. Forest Service Releases Final Planning Rule
On March 23, the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment signed the final planning rule for National Forest System land management planning. This planning rule will guide the development and implementation of land management plans for our national forests, including the availability of recreational activities. ASA has been integrally involved in the development of the final rule and, as a member with the Coalition for Recreation in the National Forests, has met with representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Forest Service to ensure that recreational opportunities are given priority in the final document. The last planning rule was developed in 1982 and has guided all national forest management to date. For more information, visit the Forest Service’s Planning Rule website.

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Thank You ICAST 2012 Sponsors
ASA would like to thank its generous members who have already signed on as ICAST sponsors. Our ICAST 2012 sponsors are: GoldCrocodile Bay Resort;Fishing Tackle Retailer;Frabill, Inc.; NBC Sports Network; Outdoor Channel; Take Me Fishing™; and WFN: World Fishing Network. SilverDave Mercer’s Facts of Fishing; Fishouflage Apparel; Gemini Sport Marketing; In-Fisherman; and Koppers Fishing & Tackle Corp. BronzeBass Minder and Classic Fishing Products, Inc. This list is current as of May 7, 2012.

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ICAST Wins High Marks From Trade Show News Network
Trade Show News Network ranks ICAST 149 on its list of the 2011 Top 250 Trade Shows. The list is culled from show management and data supplied to TSNN and represents the top 250 trade shows held last year in the U.S. ranked by net square footage. The full list can be found at The TSNN story on the list can be found here.

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ICAST 2012 Show Highlights and Events
In addition to the aisles of amazing gear, apparel and accessories, ICAST is also host to a series of special events and show floor destinations
that should be on everyone’s “must do” list. These include the New Product Showcase, the State of the Industry Breakfast and the Chairman’s Industry Awards Reception where the New Product Showcase “Best of Show” awards are presented, the Lure Tank and Casting Pond, the Apparel Lounge and Tiki Bar, the Cyber Lounge and the ASA Resource Center.

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ICAST 2012 Business Seminars Conference
In order to meet the business needs of our industry, we are evolving the seminar sessions into a “must attend” business education conference
with sessions presented throughout the trade show. This year’s seminars focus on: marking 75 Years of conservation success; human resources for small businesses; special events that drive customer traffic; understanding the role of social media in sales and customer loyalty; tips to effectively market your company and increase sales; how fisheries policy impacts product sales; and managing the requirements for the federal manufacturers excise tax on fishing equipment. The sessions are free to all badged ICAST attendees. The sessions are held during show hours – July 11 – 13, in Hall B, Second Floor, Room 208C.

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New Take Me Fishing Advertising Lures Folks to “Mother Nature’s Waterpark”
“Come outside and enjoy ‘Mother Nature’s Waterpark.’” That’s the message of the new Take Me Fishing™ advertising campaign from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). Just launched, the new ads are the product of RBFF research that identified the likeliest next-generation and fastest-growing segments of the public for boating and fishing fun. The ads, which recall the style of classic tourism and theme park advertising, are designed to increase participation in boating and fishing and draw people to to help guide their day on the water. Learn more.

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A Message from ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman
With ICAST just two months away, I wanted to provide some perspective on how the show and the sportfishing industry are shaping up. The last time we were in Orlando was for ICAST 2009. At that time, the U.S. economy was being hit by one of the worst recessions in many, many years. It was safe to say that every business and industry was affected by the economic recession and we were expecting the trade show to be somewhat smaller than it had been in the prior several years.

To everyone’s satisfaction, ICAST 2009 was a great show with excellent attendance by buyers and media. Bringing the show to Florida, the number one fishing state in the country, and which is also within driving distance for many industry folks in the Southeast region, turned out to be an excellent decision. This year, ICAST is returning to Orlando and we’re working hard to ensure that exhibitors and attendees alike have a successful experience that meets their business needs.

ICAST is the world’s largest and most important sportfishing industry event. For over 50 years, ICAST has been the sportfishing industry’s business hub, serving as the catalyst to meet the needs of anglers worldwide. This means delivering a show built on quality of attendance as much as quantity.

We are very excited about the way the 2012 show is coming together. The Orlando location is a strong enticement to dealers in the Southeast and east of the Mississippi, as well as from Europe and South America. At this point, the show floor is almost completely sold and we expect to have a waiting list in June. Show registration numbers are running higher than they were at this time last year, which is a good sign for our member exhibitors.

Our ICAST team is pushing hard in every aspect of the show planning to make sure every ICAST attendee has the best experience possible in 2012. We’re leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to attract buyers to the show. We have expanded our business education sessions to include sessions specific for small business owners, retail and manufacturing, as well as a session for companies who pay the federal manufacturers excise tax on fishing gear.

In addition, there are strong indications that recreational fishing remains one of the strongest outdoor recreational activities in the nation. Several of our members are reporting increases in sales. Going hand in hand with strong tackle sales are increases in fishing license sales. A sample survey of state fish and wildlife agencies indicates that license sales in the first quarter of 2012 increased 30 percent compared to the first quarter in 2011. Although a mild winter may have played a large part in this increase; it’s clear people are going fishing and purchasing tackle.

Now is the time for the sportfishing industry to come together. ICAST is, and always has been, a powerful driver of commerce and progress. Thank you very much for playing your part in making that possible yet again this year. Here’s to a great show!

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