Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers Member wins the William T. Hornaday
the just completed National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Bechtel
Reserve Summit in WV, Dr. Robert J. Sousa of Bristol, RI
was awarded the William T. Hornaday Gold Medal. This National
level award is the most distinguished adult conservation recognition
bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America. The Hornaday Gold Medal,
first granted in 1914, is the oldest continuous conservation award
by any organization in the United States. Dr. Hornaday was director
of the NY Zoological Park, founder of the National Zoo in Washington,
DC and was a leader in saving the American bison and several other
species from extinction. To date, fewer than 55 Gold Medals have
been presented with the likes of Aldo Leopold receiving the second
medal. It is among the rarest honors in Scouting and is often
compared as the Olympic Medal bestowed by the Earth! Recipients
must demonstrate unusual service to natural resource conservation
and environmental improvement over a sustained period exceeding
20 years. Bob is very likely the first Rhode Islander to ever
receive the Hornaday Gold Medal.
Bob, a Vietnam veteran, is a Ph.D. fishery biologist and Certified
Fisheries Scientist (American Fisheries Society). He retired from
an extensive and productive career spanning more than 30 years
with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was instrumental in
the development of the Wallop Breaux amendments to the Sport Fish
Restoration Act that provides matching grant funds to states for
boating access and fisheries enhancements.
Bob has fly fished in many countries throughout the world and
holds several angling world records. Bob is an international subject
expert in angling and specifically fly fishing. He has taught
many thousands of scouts to cast a fly rod helping them catch
their first fish on a fly. His enthusiasm for angling is very
Bob's passion for fishing means giving back. He has served on
the Board of the Future Fisherman Foundation, is a Master Instructor
in Massachusetts Aquatic Resources Education Program, a Certified
Angler Instructor with the International Game Fish Association
and is Vice Chair of the Fishing Committee of Boy Scouts of America.
He continues to be active in helping youth and adults learn the
concepts of fishing and conservation. Bob originated the Fly Fishing
Merit Badge for BSA and contributes editorially to the Fishing
Merit Badge, Wildlife Management Merit Badge and Ranger Fishing
Awards. He has written counselor guides for each of these awards.
Bob leads the fly fishing venue at National Boy Scout Jamboree
and has done so for the past 6-7 Jamborees. He has also participated
in teaching fly fishing at several National Order of the Arrow
Conferences. Bob has been instrumental at enhancing fly fishing
programs at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Northern Tier
Canoe Base in Ely, Minnesota and the Sea Base High Adventure camp
in Florida. He initiated and taught at BSA Fishing Camp Schools
throughout the country.
Using his many years of teaching fly fishing to many thousands
of people, his first non-BSA book, Learn to Fly Fish in
24 Hours (McGraw-Hill) was written to take the intimidation
factor out of learning this life-long sport. His latest book,
24 Greatest Flies You Don't Leave Home Without (Husking
Bee Books), picks up on the same simplicity theme and describes
how an angler can catch most fish, most places, most of the time
with a few simple fly patterns. Bob's goal is to simplify the
lifetime sport and encourage more people to get out of doors and
become responsible stewards of our woods and waters.
Issues and Actions
Rule Amendment to Designate Bonefish and Tarpon as Catch-and-Release
Species in Florida
A series of workshops were
announced to gather public input on potential changes in the tarpon
and bonefish rules to make them catch-and-release only fisheries
throughout Florida's state and federal waters.
Possible changes included:
*Eliminating the tarpon bag limit and allowing the harvest and
possession of a single tarpon in conjunction with a tarpon tag
only when in pursuit of an IGFA record
*Modifying the tarpon tag program, including reporting requirements
and calendar year, and
*Discontinuing the bonefish tournament exemption permit that allows
tournament anglers to temporarily possess bonefish for transport
to a tournament scale.For
more info go to FWC
Report on the Rule Amendment: June 28, 2013 By Tom H. Logan, FL
Council 1st Vice President of Conservation
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission)
staff presented a proposal to the Governor-appointed Commission
during their April 17, 2013, meeting for Rule amendments that
would designate bonefish and tarpon as catch-and-release species
generally because of their high recreational and economic values
as game fish. The amendments would require that both species be
released at point of capture in the water, excepting that a single
tarpon may be taken for International Game Fish Association (IGFA)
records under authorization of a special Tarpon Trophy Tag. The
Florida Council of International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF)
evaluated the proposal and generally found the designation of
both species consistent with IFFF catch-and-release philosophy
and supported the special Tarpon Trophy Tag as a means of limiting
"take" of tarpon while enhancing recreational and trophy
value of the species.
The Council subsequently submitted a letter of written support
(dated April 17, 2013 and shown below) to the Commission for the
proposed amendments. Mr. Tom Logan (1st VP and VP of Conservation)
and Mr. Tom Gadacz (FL Council President) also attended the April
17 meeting and final public workshop regarding the proposed amendments
where the letter was formally submitted and verbal comments were
provided during that workshop to further emphasize our support
for the catch-and-release amendments as consistent with sound
management of these highly valuable sport fishes. Concern was
also expressed regarding harmful methods of catch and handling
of tarpon during commercial tournaments for the species. Twenty
five other presenters also provided unanimous support for the
amendments with several commenting negatively regarding conduct
of tarpon tournaments.
The Commission voted unanimously to direct staff to bring the
proposed catch-and-release amendments, with the special Tarpon
Trophy Tag included, to their regularly scheduled meeting in June
for final action and approval of the rule amendments for implementation.
It was generally understood that the new amendments once approved
and implemented would influence positive changes in the conduct
of tarpon tournaments.
The Commission met on June 12, 2013, and
voted unanimously to approve the proposed rule amendments that
will go into effect September 1, 2012, making bonefish and tarpon
catch-and-release species in Florida with a special Tarpon Trophy
Tag to allow limited "take" of tarpon for IGFA records
only. Captain Pete Greenan
(past FL Council President) attended that meeting to provide further
comments in support of the Commission action on behalf of the
IFFF and the FL Council. Commission staff subsequently is working
with the IGFA to propose revised methods for measurement of tarpon
that will further minimize handling of the species for trophy
Florida Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers has been monitoring
development of these proposed rule changes for tarpon and bonefish
fisheries and provided the following
Rule Amendment to Designate Bonefish and Tarpon as Catch-and-Release Species
Thomas Gadacz, Council President
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff presented a proposal to the Governor-appointed Commission during their April 17, 2013, meeting for Rule amendments that would designate bonefish and tarpon as catch-and-release species generally because of their high recreational and economic values as game fish. The amendments would require that both species be released at point of capture in the water, excepting that a single tarpon may be taken for International Game Fish Association records under authorization of a special Tarpon Trophy Tag. The Florida Council of IFFF evaluated the proposal and generally found the designation of both species consistent with IFFF catch-and-release philosophy and supported the special Tarpon Trophy Tag as a means of limiting “take” of tarpon while enhancing recreational and trophy value of the species. The Council subsequently submitted the letter that follows to the Commission as written support of the proposed amendments. Mr. Tom Logan (1st VP and VP of Conservation) and I also attended the April 17 meeting and final public workshop regarding the proposed amendments where I provided public comments during that workshop to further emphasize our support for the catch-and-release amendments as consistent with sound management of these highly valuable sport fishes. I also expressed Council concern with catch and handling methods for tarpon during commercial tournaments for the species. Twenty five other presenters also provided unanimous support for the amendments with several commenting negatively regarding conduct of tarpon tournaments. The Commission voted unanimously to direct staff to bring the proposed catch-and-release amendments, with the special Tarpon Trophy Tag included, to their regularly scheduled meeting in June for final action and approval of the rule amendments for implementation. It was generally understood that the new amendments once approved and implemented would influence changes in the positive for conduct of tarpon tournaments.
New Research Shows Fishing Participation Up
Special report reveals decrease in participation churn rate for first time in years
ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 28, 2012) - Fishing remains the most popular recreational activity in the country with more and more people trying out the sport every day according to a new study released this month by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and The Outdoor Foundation. According to the 2012 Special Report on Fishing and Boating, for the first time in the history of the report, fishing added more participants (8.8 million) than it lost (eight million), bringing the total of Americans who fished to 46.2 million, or 16.2 percent of the population.
"We're extremely pleased to see for the first time in several years, more people coming into the sport than dropping out," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "This indicates our efforts are positively influencing participation, enticing newcomers and past participants to get out on the water."
"Fishing and boating are among the most important 'gateway' activities that often lead people, especially youth, to pursue other recreation experiences," said Christine Fanning, Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation. "We're thrilled to partner, once again, with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation on this important research project."
The fourth annual report provides detailed information on boating and fishing participation by gender, age ethnicity, income, education and geographic region.
* In 2011, 46.2 million Americans participated in fishing (an increase from 45.4 million in 2010).
While eight million participants stopped fishing, 8.8 million former or new participants joined the sport, netting an increase in overall participation.
* Although the number of fishing participants increased, the number of fishing outings decreased (average of 18.2 days fishing in 2011 compared to average of 20.4 days fishing in 2010).
* Females and youths ages six to 12 added the most new fishing participants.
* Adults 18 and older with children in their households participate in fishing at higher levels than adults without children.
* Findings also indicate that fly fishing has the greatest amount of interest among newcomers, while saltwater fishing holds the interest of participants from youth through adolescence.
Hispanic American Fishing Participation
* 3.1 million Hispanic Americans participated in fishing in 2011 - a slight decrease from 3.4 million in 2010.
* Freshwater fishing is, by far, the most popular type of fishing among Hispanic Americans.
* Hispanic Americans fish the most often out of any fishing category or demographic group, averaging 20 fishing days per year.
Youth Fishing Participation
* Typical of outdoor activities, fishing participation rates peak between the ages of six and 12 and then decrease during the adolescent years from 13 to 17.
* 81.8 percent of fishing participants ages six to 12 are introduced to outdoor activities by their parents.
* Almost 44 percent of youth fishing participants ages six to 17 also participate in boating.
* The average number of outings per boater increased from 13.2 annual outings in 2010, to 14 annual outings in 2011.
* Fishing from a boat is the most popular activity among males over the age of 16 with 64 percent participation.
* Multispecies boats surpassed bass boat as the most popular boat type at 26 percent for multispecies, followed by bass boat at 16.3 percent.
* The social aspect of boating is notable with 63% of boating participants reporting they get on the water with friends.
"Increased participation leads to increased fishing license sales and boat registration renewals, both key sources for funding state fish and wildlife conservation, and boating infrastructure programs," added Peterson. "We hope to keep the momentum going so the joys of fishing and boating can be experienced by generations to come."
The methodology and full study is available online at RBFF.org.