State of the Industry Breakfast Announcement
Today the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) launched a renewed effort to unite the sportfishing industry and the country's 60 million anglers with one united voice to keep our nation's public waters open, clean and abundant with fish. The announcement was made during the sportfishing industry's 53rd International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). ICAST, produced by ASA, the trade association representing the sportfishing industry, annually hosts 7,000 representatives of the global sportfishing industry. ICAST 2010 is being held July 14-16, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Across the country, preventing or limiting recreational anglers from accessing public fisheries resources is being touted as a new way to manage fish populations, undermining the achievements of proven fisheries management methods that focus on conservation and promote sustainable fishing. As a result, the past 10 years have seen a dramatic increase in bans or efforts to ban recreational fishing from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
"If this alarming trend continues, anglers nationwide may risk similar restrictions being implemented on their favorite lakes, rivers and streams," ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman told over 400 sportfishing business leaders this morning during the annual State of the Industry breakfast. "The voice of 60 million conservationist anglers who promote conservation over preservation must be heard by legislators, regulators and environmentalists."
Recent closures and restrictions are keeping anglers off the water which could have a significant financial impact on the sportfishing industry:
- In California, hundreds of miles of the state's saltwater have been designated as no-take marine reserves. This leaves over 760,000 salt water anglers without access to some of the best fishing spots on the Pacific Coast and puts $1.3 billion in retail sales at risk.
- Along the Atlantic Coast, a $60,000 loss in sales per store is projected for the 1,300 bait and tackle shops in that region if the proposed bottom-fishing ban in federal waters is adopted. That equates to a possible $78 million loss in sales for that region alone in the first year.
- In North Carolina, 1.2 million saltwater anglers risk losing reasonable access to many of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area's best marine sportfishing areas.
In 2006, KeepAmericaFishing was created to keep California's and North Carolina's anglers informed and motivated to speak out on issues affecting sportfishing access in their states.
"Our industry soon realized that we needed to give voice to not just California's and North Carolina's anglers, but to the millions of anglers, retailers and manufacturers who share one thing in common - a passion for fishing," said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. "The industry's whole-hearted response to our new advocacy and fundraising campaign will help elevate the challenges facing sportfishing in communities across the U.S."
Through policy, science and conservation, KeepAmericaFishing works to minimize access restrictions, promote clean waters and restore fish populations. With its conservation partners, KeepAmericaFishing works to limit science-based closures to areas in which they are clearly beneficial to the health of the fishery.
At www.KeepAmericaFishing.org' anglers, retailers, manufacturers and other recreational fishing-dependent businesses will find the latest news regarding fishery closures and KeepAmericaFishing efforts to keep them open, clean and abundant with fish.
Robertson concluded, "KeepAmericaFishing is mission critical to sportfishing in America. To learn more about restrictions to recreational fishing and what you can do to keep America fishing in your community, please visit www.KeepAmericaFishing.org."