RBFF launches pilot locations to promote fishing in urban areas

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The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has launched pilot locations for its Take Me Fishing First Catch Centers in Pennsylvania and Texas.

The centers will bring fishing and boating experiences and learning opportunities to urban areas in an effort to foster the next generation of anglers and boaters.

“Baseball, football and golf all have iconic youth development programs,” said RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson in a statement. “Fishing has relied mostly on parents and grandparents to pass along the fishing tradition, but as the country becomes more urbanized we’re slowly losing this pipeline of participants. Our First Catch Centers are here to fill that void and secure the future of fishing and boating participation.”

Starting this year, Take Me Fishing-endorsed programs in Texas and Pennsylvania that have met a set of criteria determined by RBFF will bring fishing and boating experiences to youth and families.

RBFF will support these organizations with branding, promotion and marketing expertise to help extend their reach.

RBFF will work with Fishing’s Future, which has more than 60 chapters across the country, to open an additional eight chapters in the Houston, Dallas and New Jersey areas. The foundation will also work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas and local fish hatcheries.

RBFF will work with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to open a mobile First Catch Center and will add a second mobile unit in 2018 to increase the program’s reach.

The Pennsylvania agency will also work with and host events at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia.

With research showing that multiple touch points are needed to foster continued participation, each program will be evaluated on its ability to collect participant data and ensure repeat visits.

The RBFF is asking for support from the industry; organizations interested in sponsoring a First Catch Center or providing equipment are asked to contact Rachel Piacenza at rpiacenza@rbff.org.