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  • Threat 2 Declining Participation

      Threat #2  Declining Participation

    Kids-Fishing-Levi-TouchAs an angler, you pay for management of the fish in your state’s lakes and rivers, just as you also finance aquatic education, fisheries research, habitat restoration, land acquisition, urban fishing programs, and construction of hatcheries, boat ramps, and fishing piers.

    You do this through the purchase of your fishing license and your fishing tackle, as well as fuel for your boat.

    In buying the tackle and the gas, you pay excise taxes which fund the Sport Fish Restoration Program (SFR), also known as Wallop-Breaux. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service then distributes that money to the states, based on the number of license holders in each state and its land and water areas.

    Father-n-Son-WalleyeA state wildlife agency, meanwhile, must be able to pay for 25 percent of any given fisheries project if it is to receive the 75 percent “match” from SFR. Almost all of that state money comes from sale of licenses.

    Since the program began in 1950, achieving that match has not been a problem for most states, and, as a result, SFR has distributed about $7 billion for fisheries management. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the states received $364.7 million because of this unique “user pays, user profits” program.

    FishingChildFatherDockBut tomorrow might not be as bright. Although trends vary from state to state, participation generally has been flat or declining since 2000. And when anglers don’t buy licenses, state wildlife agencies lose funding, both from the decline in sale of those licenses and from the SFR. That means they can’t finance the work that has made recreational fishing in the United States the envy of the world.

    Fortunately, the solution to this threat is easy: Take someone fishing. Preferably, take a youngster fishing, instilling in him or her a love of nature and a love of the sport that will endure for a lifetime.

    In other words, share your passion to ensure a sound financial future for recreational fishing.

    Solution: Easy – take someone new fishing, or get someone back on the water who hasn’t been fishing for a while.

    Back to Six Risks Facing Fishing main | Threat # 1 | Threat #2 | Threat #3 | Threat #4 | Threat #5 | Threat #6