National initiative aims to promote angling, recreational boating

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three public agencies have partnered with four angling, maritime and outdoor organizations to promote the boating and fishing industries, it was announced in late October.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was reached between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).

All seven entities signed the MOU shortly after Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke declared October as National Hunting and Fishing Month.

The MOU, according to a statement published by RBFF, “was created to develop and expand cooperation among the participating parties for planning and implementing mutually-beneficial projects and activities to promote recreational fishing and boating conducted on public lands and waterways.”

The seven-member MOU aims to focus on angler recruitment, retention and reactivation through a “60 in 60” plan – increase the current angling population (ages 6 and older) to 60 million within 60 months. An estimated 47 million anglers (ages 6 and older) exist nationwide, according to RBFF staff.

The 60 in 60 plan launched in April 2016, meaning officials hope to achieve 60 million anglers nationwide by 2021.

Angling participation has apparently been on the upswing, according to the 2017 Special Report on Fishing. An estimated 1.5 million new anglers (ages 6 and older) reportedly dropped a line in the water within the first year of the 60 in 60 plan.

A recreational boating participation survey conducted by Discover Boating, NMMA and RBFF found an estimated 142 million Americans, including 17 million new participants, navigated local and regional waters in 2016.

NOAA photo

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