- The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) is a non-profit, member-based association of professional guides, tournament anglers, angler educators and sportfishing/marine industry professionals dedicated to growing the fishing industry and angler participation.
- CSF’s Chris Horton presented at the NPAA conference in Fort Myers, Florida on the importance of understanding the policy issues that could impact access to our fisheries resources, while using their sphere of influence to engage more anglers in advocating on behalf of our angling heritage.
Why It Matters: Recreational fishing is a $51 billion annual industry that requires ample access to healthy, abundant fisheries resources. There is perhaps no sector within the fishing industry that is better poised to make a difference on behalf of our nation’s fisheries than tournament anglers, captains, and guides who touch the lives of millions of America’s anglers every day. Whether it be time on the water with clients looking to catch their first fish, or the social media platforms of popular tournament anglers, professional anglers provide the perfect platform for encouraging all recreational anglers to get engaged in advocating for fisheries conservation and access.
This past weekend, the National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) held their annual conference in Fort Myers, Florida, where NPAA members heard from various industry-leading experts on everything from getting started as a charter boat captain, the importance of relationships in brand development as a competitive angler, maintaining professionalism throughout careers, and using social media to communicate with fans and interested anglers. Featured speakers included B.A.S.S. pro Gerald Swindle, Major League Fishing pro Bobby Lane, Redfish Lodge owner Mike Frenette, and CSF’s own Chris Horton, Senior Director of Fisheries Policy.
While not often considered as part of a career path in the professional fishing industry, Horton’s presentation focused on the importance of advocating for our fisheries resources along the way. Horton recounted his introduction to fishing at a young age, followed by his path from a fisheries biologist to the policy arena working to ensure we continue to have access to abundant fisheries resources in both fresh and saltwater. He highlighted recent successes in Congress, the many challenges we have facing recreational fishing today, and the importance of NPAA members to first understand the issues, then leverage their influence with the angling community to get them engaged. The presentation concluded with suggestions on how they might do that, including utilizing CSF’s expertise and connections at both the state and federal levels.
Horton ended with, “It takes people who are hunters and anglers, who truly value the resource to stand up for it, to have a voice at the policy level, to ensure that decisions are based on good science and in the interest of long-term sustainability and continued public access to healthy fish and wildlife resources. Everyone in this room and across the country who fishes and hunts and who appreciates our outdoor heritage has both the ability and responsibility to get involved and truly make a difference.”