The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) 2013 Sportfishing Summit, the sportfishing industry’s premier networking and business management event, celebrated 80 years of serving the industry and the sport during its annual meeting held October 16-18, at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort located just outside Fort Myers, Fla. This annual fall business meeting brought together more than 100 industry leaders with other sportfishing community members to provide a venue to discuss the issues impacting recreational fishing during committee meetings, networking events, general sessions and the association’s board of directors and committee meetings. Mayor Kevin Ruane of the City of Sanibel was a guest along with several members of the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce.
The 2013 Sportfishing Summit program agenda focused on:
- The state of the industry and how the association has changed and adapted over the past 80 years.
- The challenges and opportunities in fisheries management from a state natural resource agency perspective.
- The latest trends and customer insights regarding recreational fishing
- A new effort speared by the sportfishing industry and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation to engage the Hispanic population in recreational fishing.
“As the number one fishing state in the country, Florida was a natural choice for our annual business meeting,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “And fishing is big business not only in Florida but in the United States as well. According to the latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national study, America’s anglers spend $48 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with fishing.”
“And it’s not just the economy,” said Nussman. “America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters investing more than $1 billion each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.”
“Speaking of conservation, water quality and its impact on fisheries as well as access to recreational fishing are topics of great concern to our members and guests this week,” noted Nussman. “For example, the recent release of water from Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the dam system has had a devastating impact on local waters killing fishing grounds and fueling toxic algae growth.”
Nussman concluded, “Despite continuing economic uncertainties and access and water quality issues, anglers continue to fish and spend time outdoors. A growing interest in the outdoors is helping to fuel angler participation which bodes well for our industry.”