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2019 Sportfishing Summit brings industry leaders together

The American Sportfishing Association held its Sportfishing Summit Oct. 8-11 in Stevenson, Wash., to focus on issues affecting the recreational angling industry. The event drew more than 220 fishing and boating industry advocates to discuss issues impacting recreational fishing. For 40 members, it was the first time attending the summit.

During opening remarks, ASA president Glenn Hughes said there are five challenges that impact the recreational fishing industry: weather, a constant variable; the imposition of tariffs on products imported from China; turbulence in government; trade and commerce issues; and policy issues surrounding water, fisheries management and access to public waters.

Hughes also noted that although fishing participation was up for the fifth consecutive year — 49.1 million to 49.4 million — the rate of those dropping out, known as the churn rate, is largely equal to new or returning anglers. Retention continues to be an industry-wide issue.

The board of directors unanimously voted to support a long-range planning initiative that will involve board members and staff.

“This new comprehensive, strategic planning initiative is an important step to build upon the association’s strengths and create a framework to guide us in the coming years,” Hughes said in a statement. “With a fresh vision, we can continue to be the best resource to our members and the entire recreational fishing community.”

During the summit, the new Retail Committee met for the first time with committee chairman Patrick Gill, owner of TackleDirect, who also sits on the ASA board. The Retail Committee is charged with understanding the challenges facing the independent retail sector with respect to regional fisheries conservation and access.

The 2020 Sportfishing Summit will be held Oct. 12-15 at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

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