Status of National Recreational Fishing and Boating Outreach Strategy

The Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC) was asked by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recommend a strategy that will increase recreational boating and fishing participation and help to instill a conservation ethic through increased emphasis on effective education and outreach programs. This request was made in order to be able to rapidly and effectively implement the provisions of the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) which provides a minimum of $36 million over a 5-year period for marketing recreational fishing and boating. Our mission was “to recommend an informed, consensus-based national outreach strategy that will increase participation in recreational angling and boating and thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need for protecting, conserving, and restoring this nation's aquatic natural resources.” To develop the plan, the SFBPC sought input from user groups, fisheries administrators, and industry leaders via the Internet and a series of national and regional meetings. There were over 400 participants attending these meetings. The plan has 5 all encompassing precepts, namely: 1. Recognize, reinforce, and commit to the importance of sustainable aquatic habitat and natural resource conservation, 2. Emphasize that boaters and anglers are conservationists by demonstrating their commitment and contribution to conservation efforts, 3. Focus efforts on urban boating and fishing needs and opportunities, 4. Champion the use of a single coordinated, encompassing effort to promote recreational boating and fishing involving all stakeholders, and 5. Encourage the industry to implement the Strategic Plan by supporting this unified, comprehensive marketing and outreach effort

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