RBFF announces partnership to drive angler recruitment and retention

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and the Aquatic Resources Education Association  today announced a new partnership to develop angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) guidelines. The partnership will provide the framework for industrywide angler recruitment, retention and reactivation programs. The guidelines will incorporate current R3 strategies developed by the Wildlife Management Institute, and will build upon the foundation provided by RBFF's Best Practices Workbook for Boating, Fishing and Aquatic Resources Stewardship Education.

"Looking at the 5.8 million fishing participants who did not return to the sport in 2014, it's evident that our industry needs to develop better R3 practices, and this partnership is a clear step in the right direction," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "The result will be actionable guidelines for R3 programs that can be used throughout the boating and fishing industry to help sustain and grow the number of anglers and boaters in the United States, leading to more funds for conservation efforts."

WMI has previously developed strategic tools to evaluate, improve and develop hunting recruitment, retention and reactivation programs for agencies and organizations, which will be expanded and adapted for use in effective angler R3 programs by RBFF and AREA. The partnership will look to provide recommendations for R3 programs and evaluations that can be used by state agencies and other fishing industry organizations to assess their angling R3 efforts and address gaps to increase effectiveness and efficiency.

"AREA is excited to be a partner in this project," said AREA President Barb Gigar. "The resulting guidelines will go a long way to help our members and other organizations maximize their R3 efforts by demonstrating the most effective methods to get their customers outdoors and connected to our aquatic resources through fishing."

The project will consist of two phases and will conclude with pilot testing. Current R3 best practices, research and success models will be reviewed in Phase I while Phase II will build on previous work and evaluation templates in order to develop recommendations for more efficient and effective angler R3 programs. A stakeholder working group will provide support and expertise throughout the process. Pilot testing will then occur in select states, with national training at the 2016 AREA Conference.

This project will be conducted over the course of 18 months, with final results of the program shared in early 2017. Information and progress will be shared throughout the phases of the project. For more information, please contact RBFF Director of State Initiatives, Stephanie Hussey at shussey@rbff.org.

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