Alongside encouraging more people in the U.S. to take to the water through fishing and boating, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Federation (RBFF) plays an essential role in highlighting conservation.
Dave Chanda, RBFF president and CEO, says, "Directly connected to conservation in the U.S., RBFF works to increase participation in recreational fishing and boating, raising awareness and appreciation of the need to protect, conserve and restore our nation's aquatic natural resources."
Conservation is vital to RBFF and the future of the sport of fishing overall. Fishing is one of the only activities in the country where participants directly give back to the places where they are taking part in the sport.
It happens through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. At RBFF, we call it conservation through participation. It means that 100 percent of the funds collected through fishing license sales and excise taxes on fishing gear and boat fuel sales go directly to state fish and wildlife agencies to do critical conservation work. This work includes habitat management, education on how to conserve our waterways and wildlife, boating and fishing access, fish surveys and research and fish stocking.
To ensure the states continue to receive the support they need to conduct these crucial conservation programs, RBFF's work to increase fishing and boating participation is essential.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there was a 3.2 percent increase in fishing license sales over the last decade. And last year alone, more than 30 million people paid for a fishing license in the U.S.
“In 2021, fishing participation exceeded 50 million for the second time in 14 years, and 52 million Americans went fishing last year, supporting a significant increase in aquatic conservation funding,” adds Chanda.
Knowing that participation drives funding that underpins state agencies' conservation efforts, ensuring they get the support they need is our number one priority.
During this week’s National Fishing and Boating Week, we partner with Washington state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife to showcase the conservation work done around the region. Also, across mainly all states in the U.S., you can go fishing without buying a fishing license, giving a chance to many newcomers to try the sport and get hooked in support of our waterways.
You can learn more about RBFF’s across-the-board efforts here.