Sportfishing industry leaders representing more than 100 companies and organizations throughout the United States and Canada gathered October 26–28, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) annual business meeting, the 2010 Sportfishing Summit. This year’s Summit focused on the domestic and international economic markets, fisheries resource management, advocacy and the political forces impacting the industry.
“Our Summit is the one time each year that the sportfishing industry comes together as peers and collaborators to focus efforts on the most pressing industry challenges and explore avenues for addressing them,” said Mike Nussman, ASA president and CEO.
During the three day meeting, ASA’s members unanimously supported ASA’s efforts to engage individual anglers in advocating for recreational fishing’s future through KeepAmericaFishing™ which has grown and expanded over the past four years to become “the voice of the American angler.”
“The membership’s decision to support KeepAmericaFishing reinforces how important individual anglers are to our collective future and sends a strong message about the resolve and dedication of this industry,” said Jeff Marble, CEO, Frabill, Inc., and ASA’s Board of Directors chairman. “Launching an angler advocacy brand is a much-needed critical step towards ensuring that our public waters remain open, clean and abundant with fish.”
The administration also showed its support of recreational fishing with keynote addresses by Assistant
Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland who addressed recreational fishing participation, access issues and the new America’s Great Outdoors initiative. Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, provided an update on NOAA Fisheries’ efforts to address the industry’s concerns regarding marine fisheries management.
During the association’s annual dinner, ASA presented two awards: a special award to former ASA Board of Directors Chairman Burt Steinberg (formerly of American Rod and Gun), and the Norville Prosser Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize significant contributions to sportfishing. The association’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Robert Hayes, general counsel for ASA and the Coastal Conservation Association, for his extraordinary leadership in promoting the values of sportfishing and advancing cooperative approaches to conservation and recreation.
“There are few contemporary marine conservation victories in which Bob Hayes did not play a significant role,” said Nussman. “Bob’s humble nature and earnest desire for results before his own need for recognition have kept him out of the limelight, but I assure you, no one is more deserving of this award than Bob Hayes.”
This past July, the ASA’s board of directors passed a special resolution recognizing Burt Steinberg’s leadership of the association and the sportfishing industry by awarding him Member Emeritus status.
“Burt Steinberg is a pillar of this industry, mentoring innumerable people along their career paths and unselfishly giving of his time and energy to ensure recreational fishing’s future,” stated Nussman. “Many people in the industry, me included, owe Burt our gratitude and thanks for everything he has done and stood for over the past five decades.”
During the Summit, ASA’s board of directors also elected officers: Chairman—Jeff Marble, CEO, Frabill, Inc.; Vice Chairman—Gregg Wollner, Executive Vice President; Secretary—Dave Bulthuis, Vice President, Sales, Costa; Treasurer—Peter Foley, President, Boone Bait Company; and Immediate Past Chairman—Jeff Pontius, President, ZEBCO Brands.
The 2011 Sportfishing Summit is scheduled for October 12–14, at the Loews New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, La.