In late October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).
The unprecedented MOU, signed just after U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke declared October will officially be recognized as National Hunting and Fishing Month, was created to develop and expand cooperation among the above groups and agencies for planning and implementing mutually-beneficial projects and activities to promote recreational fishing and boating conducted on public lands and waterways.
What this means for ASA’s membership is that the federal agencies above will work together with ASA, the sportfishing industry and other angling and boating associations and organizations to promote angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) activities with the goal of increasing the current 47 million recreational fishing participants in the U.S. ages 6+ to 60 million by 2021. Dubbed ‘60 in 60’ by RBFF, the initiative was launched in April 2016.
Some efforts that may take place because of the MOU include increased volunteerism on public lands, improved quality of aquatic and riparian resources, improved recreational fishing experiences, and increased educational programs for recreational fishing and fisheries.
The MOU will further advance what was a strong first year for ’60 in 60’ in which fishing participation among Americans age 6+ increased by 1.5 million according to the 2017 Special Report on Fishing, along with increases in key growth segments for the industry including youth and Hispanics.
The recently-released USFWS 2016 National Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation national survey also revealed an increase in fishing participation – up 8.2 percent over the last five years among Americans ages 16+. In addition, the survey revealed fishing participation is up nearly 20 percent over the last 10 years and reached its highest mark since 1991.
This MOU is a major step forward for a cooperative effort on the national, regional and local level to ensure fishing and boating participation thrive for years to come.
For more information, please contact Chief Marketing Officer Liz Ogilvie.