The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) unveiled a campaign called “60-in-60” during a policy briefing on Capitol Hill on September 21, hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). This campaign aims to increase numbers of anglers in the United States from 46 million to 60 million in 60 months by 2021.
Representatives from the angling and boating community as well as Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) attended the policy briefing to learn about the campaign, focusing on ways to reassess the nation’s approach to recruiting, retaining, and reactivating anglers, especially younger segments of the population. While angler numbers have remained relatively stable, the average age of those who buy a fishing license is getting older.
CSC Co-Chair Congressman Rob Wittman (VA) and Vice-Chair Congressman Gene Green (TX) introduced the importance of this initiative. “ASA and NMMA are organizations that represent everyone from the industry side to individual members of the sportfishing community,” said Rep. Wittman. “This initiative is about expanding the reach of the recreational angling community,”
“These briefings, like the one today, give us the opportunity to educate CSC Members and talk about something we all really love – hunting and fishing,” said Rep. Green.
“Because of the current angler demographic between ages 52 and 70, we risk declining participation rates in the next decade,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “In order to effectively recruit enough anglers to sustain the industry’s economic impact in the country, as well as the significant contribution anglers and boaters make to conservation, we need a new approach to get people reconnected with one of the nation’s most enduring pastimes – fishing.”
The Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (Trust Fund), a program first established by Congress in 1950, generates revenue for state natural resource agencies through excise taxes paid by anglers and boaters on fishing tackle, marine electronics and motorboat fuels. Currently, the Trust Fund distributes $600 million annually to all 50 states for fisheries management, habitat improvement projects, boating access, and aquatic education.
“We thank the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for meeting with us to learn more about the future of recreational fishing and the new ’60-in-60’ angler participation initiative. CSC Members understand that clean water, abundant fish and access to both are crucial to outdoor recreation overall and getting people out on the water,” said Vice President of ASA Scott Gudes. “This new initiative is focused on what the sportfishing community needs to do to be more customer-focused and develop the next generation of anglers.”
“Boating and fishing are two of the most popular activities in America, and our industries have a significant economic impact throughout the country,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “’60-in-60’ is about recruitment, retention and reactivation. It’s about partnerships between the industry, state governments, and anglers to focus on what we can do better to grow the sport and improve the fishing experience.”
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?