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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces $70m to eliminate barriers, improve access through fishing

by Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation 1 Apr 2023 13:16 PDT
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces $70 million to eliminate barriers, improve access, and promote conservation through fishing and boating © Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is announcing a new cooperative agreement with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) in the amount of $70 million dollars over a 5-year period to implement the National Outreach and Communication Program (NOCP).

The National Outreach and Communication Program is a visionary long-term effort established in 1998 to improve communications with anglers, boaters, and the public regarding fishing and boating opportunities, reduce barriers to participation, and promote safe fishing and boating practices as well as the conservation and the responsible use of the Nation's aquatic resources. The NOCP is funded from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund that is supported by manufactures excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat fuel, and other sources.

Thanks in part to efforts funded through the NOCP over the past two decades, recreational fishing has experienced rapid growth in recent years - with substantial increases in women anglers, urban and multicultural families, and youth. This five-year, approximately $14-million-per-year agreement will allow the USFWS and RBFF to work together with states, Tribes, industries, and non-profits to continue to improve fishing and boating access while engaging outdoor enthusiasts in natural resource stewardship.

Fishing and Boating Fund Conservation

The fishing and boating industry excise tax has been crucial to American conservation for decades. The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, known as Dingell-Johnson, was passed in 1950 with strong support from industry, conservation groups and the public.

Grant funds from fishing equipment and motorboat fuel tax have allowed our partners to increase sport fishing and boating access, address the spread of invasive species, and support healthy fish populations and their habitats. Every year these funds support clean water and habitat, healthy fish populations, almost 9,000 boating access sites and 1 billion fish produced by 321 state fish hatcheries across the country.

Fishing and boating participation is also important to our nation's economy and funds much of our nation's aquatic resource conservation through the sale of state fishing licenses and the grant programs funded from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works closely with state fish and wildlife agencies, communities, and partners to ensure that the nation's fisheries are safe, productive, and sustainable for everyone to enjoy.

RBFF was selected as the grant recipient based on the organization's extensive experience and proven success in marketing, outreach and education to increase fishing and boating in the United States. Since its inception in 1998, RBFF via its consumer-facing brand Take Me Fishing™ has spearheaded innovative national outreach and education programs to promote fishing and boating and to educate the public on their conservation benefits.

"We are thrilled to continue our work to grow fishing and boating and create lifelong participants who value the resource," said RBFF President & CEO Dave Chanda. "The RBFF team is energized around a clear mission and vision to spread the joys of fishing and boating to all ages, genders and cultures. We look forward to partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as we continue this important work to support our state, industry and federal partners.

Moving forward, RBFF will continue its critical work to grow fishing and boating participation among new audiences including multicultural families with kids, women and traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities. The national Take Me Fishing campaign will drive awareness and trial in fishing and boating and provide newcomers with the resources they need to have a successful day on the water.

RBFF's extensive partnerships with state, industry and federal stakeholders will support grassroots R3 (recruitment, retention, reactivation) efforts that connect at the national and local level.

For more information about RBFF or the National Outreach and Communication program visit www.takemefishing.org or www.fws.gov/service/national-outreach-and-communications-program.

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