The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) today issued a letter to members with plans to proceed with preparation for ICAST, the industry’s largest trade show. The event is scheduled to take place July 14-17 in Orlando, Florida and—if historic trends continue—could garner more than 13,000 attendees.The letter arrives on the same day that other entities in American sports have taken drastic measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, which was also declared a global pandemic today by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The letter reads as follows:

For decades, we’ve seen the recreational fishing industry flourish on a global scale. During this time, ICAST has been the cornerstone to building brands, forging partnerships, providing education and so much more.
 
As your ICAST producers and hosts, we at the American Sportfishing Association understand the time and commitment it takes to exhibit at and attend the show in Orlando, and how important it is to your business.
 
ASA’s board of directors and Show committee met last week in Birmingham, Ala., and the message they want everyone to hear is that ICAST will go on as planned.
 
We are diligently monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are staying in close contact with the Orange County Convention Center. The OCCC is adhering to guidelines from the CDC and is taking additional precautions from the Florida Department of Health.
 
In addition, please be assured that we have a plan in place for ASA’s staff to continue to do their jobs from home should that become necessary.
 
As this situation evolves, we will continue to rely on guidance from government agencies while considering the needs of our staff, members, exhibitors and attendees to determine our best course of action. To that end, should the situation change, we will alert you immediately.
 
However, come July, we are confident that ICAST will live up to its reputation as the world’s largest and best sportfishing trade show.
 
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Trade Show and Membership Vice President Blake Swango.

-Glenn Hughes

President

There is presently no known cure or vaccine for COVID-19. In February, researchers found a mortality rate of 2.3% on mainland China, much greater than the 0.1% mortality rate of global seasonal flu cases. Though the outbreak has been largely limited to China and parts of Europe, documented cases are now increasing at a rapid rate in the United States.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it’s annual March Madness tournament will be closed to fans; meanwhile the NBA suspended its season after a player tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the abrupt cancellation of a Utah Jazz/Oklahoma City Thunder tilt in Oklahoma. Minutes later, President Trump suspended all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days.

Current predictions estimate the number of domestic cases of COVID-19 to rise into mid-April before slowing down in May.