Sportfishing Summit Brings Industry Leaders Together at Fort Myers

Alexandria, VA – 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.”

The Association Recognizes Industry and Conservation Leaders During its annual dinner, ASA recognized several individuals who have given generously of their time and company resources in support of the industry and fisheries conservation.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Peter F. Foley – President – Boone Bait Company
The American Sportfishing Association’s most prestigious award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Peter F. Foley, president, Boone Bait Company, headquartered Winter Park, Fla. Foley was recognized for his extraordinary leadership and lifelong commitment to recreational fishing and the sportfishing industry.

Foley has devoted decades of his time and resources to ASA and the industry having served on numerous committees and served as Board of Directors Chairman from 1985 – 1987. He currently serves as the association’s Treasurer. Foley was instrumental throughout the 1970s – 1990s in helping the association to establish a solid financial base, which allowed the association to grow and expand its programs to ensure better fisheries, more anglers and a favorable business environment.

Future of Fishing Award – David Pfeiffer – President – Shimano American Corporation
The American Sportfishing Association’s Future of Fishing Award was presented to David Pfeiffer, president, Shimano American Corporation, located in California, for his commitment to the sportfishing industry and his leadership in ensuring recreational fishing’s future. Pfeiffer currently serves on the board of directors and was board Chairman from 2004 to 2006.

Over the past decade, Pfeiffer has brought not only his own leadership skills and business acumen to the association, but those of his senior leadership team, many who serve on or chair association program committees as the industry addresses issues such as access and increasing participation. Our collective business future is well-served by Pfeiffer’s commitment to the industry and the association.

Outstanding Industry Leader Award – John Jilling – Wright & McGill, Co.
The American Sportfishing Association presented an Outstanding Industry Leader Award to long-time member John Jilling. In 2012 Jilling retired as President of Wright & McGill, Co., headquartered in Denver, Colo. after nearly 35 years with the company and 13 years as its President.

Jilling was a long-time supporter of ASA having served on the board of directors for eight years and served for many years on the Trade Show (ICAST) committee and other committees. Noteworthy is that Wright & McGill was one of the companies to exhibit at the Fishing Tackle Trade Show, held at the Hotel Sherman in July 1958, which was the first industry trade show produced by ASA’s predecessor, the Associated Fishing Tackle Manufacturers.

Outstanding Fisheries Conservation Award – Noreen Clough – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and B.A.S.S.
The American Sportfishing Association presented an Outstanding Fisheries Conservation Award to Noreen Clough, who retired this year as Conservation Director of B.A.S.S. Clough is a member of the association’s Government Affairs committee.

Clough has more than 36 years of experience in natural resource conservation, including Chief of Natural Resources for the National Wildlife Refuge System and Deputy Assistant Director for Fisheries in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as well as that agency’s Southeast Regional Director. For the past seven years, Clough served as the B.A.S.S. Conservation Director.

Thank You 2013 Sportfishing Summit Sponsors
The American Sportfishing Association extends its thanks to the following companies and agencies for their generous support of the 2013 Sportfishing Summit: Gold – Bass Pro Shops; Cabela’s; NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service; Pure Fishing, Inc.; Take me Fishing™; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Silver – Allcoast Group; Southwick Associates; and the USDA Forest Service. Bronze – Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Flambeau Outdoors.

The 2014 Sportfishing Summit is scheduled for October 15 – 17, in San Antonio, Texas. Texas is second only to Florida as the state where the most recreational fishing takes place.