FWC roundtable focuses on angler recruitement

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Recreational boating and fishing industry stakeholders gathered for a roundtable discussion with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to work on boosting outdoor recreation participation through the recruitment, retention and reactivation of anglers — also known as the R3 initiative.

Panel members highlighted the importance of Florida’s recreational fishing industry, which provides $53.3 million to state conservation efforts through license fees and excise taxes on equipment and motorboat fuel.

“This open dialogue between the fishing and boating industry and the FWC highlights our great partnership to achieve increased participation in outdoor activities, including recreational fishing. By working together toward a common goal and through the R3 initiative of recruitment, retention and reactivation we can have a stronger positive impact on the conservation of Florida’s natural resources,” American Sportfishing Association president and CEO Mike Nussman said in a statement.

“We are going to pledge in front of everybody that at least 12 percent of our Sport Fish Restoration funds are going to be spent on R3,” FWC executive director Nick Wiley said during the meeting.

“Thank you to the FWC for the tremendous job they do managing our natural resources and for hosting today’s roundtable discussion, which underscores the positive impact of Florida’s $9.6 billion sportfishing industry. Anglers are deeply invested in the well being of our fisheries, making increased fishing participation a key conservation strategy, and we appreciate the FWC’s recognition of this important relationship,” said Dave Bulthuis, vice president of sales at Costa Del Mar.

Roundtable panelists included Bulthuis; Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association; Nussman; Martin Peters, senior manager of marine communications and government relations at the Yamaha Marine Group; Jeff Pontius, president and CEO of Zebco Brands; and K.C. Walsh, president of Simms Fishing Products.

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