Forestville, WI – “How do we take something we love and are crazy about and pass it on?” asked Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “How do we ensure the sport and tradition of fishing continues?”
Those and many other issues will be addressed during Nussman’s keynote address to the National Professional Anglers Association annual conference Jan. 9, 2016. The event will be held Jan. 8-10 at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. With all the fun activities at this resort area and the huge Chula Vista waterpark, the weekend is billed as a “get-away” for NPAA members and their families.
The ASA is the recreational fishing industry’s trade association. Nussman has been president and CEO since 2001. The organization is based in Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science, a master’s degree in zoology and an MBA. The ASA is committed to looking out for the interests of the sportfishing industry and the entire recreational fishing community.
The ASA attracts the global fishing industry to the largest fishing tackle trade show each year, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST. ASA is also involved in educating and informing anglers via consumer-based outdoor fishing and marine shows in Minneapolis, Chicago, and many other regions. Five years ago, ASA launched KeepAmericaFishing, the industry’s angler advocacy campaign which provides an outlet for anglers to influence policy decisions that impact clean water, healthy fisheries and access to public waters. The ASA FishAmerica Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grant money to more than 1,000 fisheries and habitat projects in all states and Canada.
Passing along the traditions of fishing is something Nussman is passionate about. “What’s good for the sport is good for the country and the millions of people who love being outdoors,” he said. “Anglers, hunters and boaters fund conservation to the tune of $1.2 billion annually. If gone, that would have a devastating impact on state agencies that work to conserve and enhance everything that assures quality habitat and vibrant fisheries across the country.”
He feels the next generation must be reached now. “A big part of the total solution is happening at the hundreds of NPAA youth fishing activities. How the youth are reached and taught is dependent on ‘you guys’ and many more groups that are active with our youth,” Nussman said. “ASA is dedicated to helping ensure there is clean water, plenty of fish and access to both.”
State fish and wildlife agencies are a critical component, he noted, and they receive a significant portion of their budget funds through fishing license fees and the federal excise tax on recreational fishing tackle.
“There is a tremendous Angler Army out there we have not yet tapped into. The passion held by the baby-boomers who grew up outside and fishing must be part of the solution. We have to find a way to pass their passion onto others,” Nussman said.
The NPAA conference, the traditional “kick-off” to the winter sport show season and the New Year is for NPAA members and those who want to learn more about the sport. Members include average anglers, fishing club members, industry leaders, professional anglers, guides, and fishing educators. The conference includes displays by industry manufacturers, valuable breakout sessions, presentations by experts and a Future Angler Foundation fund-raising banquet. Registration details can be found at www.npaa.net.