Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator
In conjunction with the firearms deer hunting seasons that are slowly opening across the northeast region, state fish and wildlife agencies are also hard at work preparing for a different pursuit – trout.
In a press release from Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management (DEM), it’s recognized that there typically is an uptick in angling activities both before and after Veterans Day. In anticipation of seeing an increase in sportsmen and women heading to their favorite waterways, the DEM stocked numerous locations (including various ponds and rivers in Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Foster, Richmond, Scituate, and Tiverton) with trout.
Nationally, participation in recreational fishing hit a peak in the late 1980’s. Since then, angler participation has seen its fair share of spikes and declines due to a number of variables (i.e., increased opportunities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic). Nonetheless, angler recruitment, retention, and reactivation is a priority for many state fish and wildlife agencies, and encouraging angler participation through trout stocking programs reflects a dedicated effort by the DEM to curb the declining trend.
Through the American System of Conservation Funding, Rhode Island’s anglers play a pivotal role in financially supporting the DEM – the primary steward of the Ocean State’s fish and wildlife resources. In 2019 alone, Rhode Island’s sportsmen and women contributed approximately $9.9 million toward this system, with over $900,000 coming solely from fishing licenses. During that same year, more than 84,000 total fishing licenses were sold – many of them purchased by anglers pursuing stocked trout, thanks to the DEM’s committed efforts.
For more information, please reference the Rhode Island Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide, as well as the DEM’s above-mentioned press release.
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?