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FB80 Homer ICAST Formatted

FB80 Homer ICAST Formatted

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This is the August 2012 edition of the Florida Fish Busters' Bulletin about the ICAST show in Florida, Sport Fish Restoration's 75th anniversary and a tribute to Homer Circle. Written by Bob Wattendorf for the Florida Fish and WIldlife Conservation Commission.
This is the August 2012 edition of the Florida Fish Busters' Bulletin about the ICAST show in Florida, Sport Fish Restoration's 75th anniversary and a tribute to Homer Circle. Written by Bob Wattendorf for the Florida Fish and WIldlife Conservation Commission.

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08/01/2012

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Florida Fish Busters’ Bulletin August 2012
ICAST and Uncle Homer’s Legacy
By Bob Wattendorf The largest sport-fishing industry tradeshow in the world was held inOrlando last month. The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades,better known as ICAST, was produced by theAmerican Sportfishing Associationand attracted 9,000 representatives from the global sport-fishing community,including a broad spectrum of fishing-related businesses, manufacturers, retailersand outdoor media.ICAST was an ideal venue for FloridaFish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(FWC) staff to highlight the 75
th
 anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport FishRestoration programs and explain howfunds from the sport-fishing part of theprogram are used to enhance Florida’srecreational fishing and boating industries.Those industries respectively generate economic impacts of $8 billion and $17billion, and provide nearly 300,000 Floridians with employment. Moreover, Florida’stitle of the “Fishing Capital of the World” comes from providing more recreationalfishing enjoyment to anglers than any other state, and giving them a lifetime of 
ICAST provided a forum to discuss all of the benefits Florida anglers and boaters receive from the Sport Fish Restoration program.
 
active nature-based recreation to enhance both their health and mental well-being.The last national survey indicated nearly 50 million days of recreational fishing areenjoyed annually by anglers in the Sunshine State.The national SFR program, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,collects money from manufacturers of fishing equipment, and motorboat and small-engine fuels. Funds from SFR, combined with fishing license revenues, help supportfuture fishing and boating opportunities, including FWC programs such as habitatenhancement, fish stocking, building boat ramps and artificial reefs and youthfishing programs.Tom Champeau, director of theFWC’s Division of Freshwater FisheriesManagement, used a press conference atICAST to update the industry onTrophyCatch (TrophyCatchFlorida.com).TrophyCatch is the latest federal-state-industry partnership funded in part bySFR and largely supported by industry sponsorships and donations to promotecatch-and-release of Florida’s trophy largemouth bass – the most popular sport fishin the world and Florida’s state freshwater fish.The TrophyCatch program is for anglers who catch-and-release largemouthbass greater than eight pounds. Three different tiers will be recognized: The Lunker
Tom Champeau talks about TrophyCatch at the ICAST press conference.
 
Club (8-9.9 pounds), The Trophy Club (10-12.9 pounds) and the Hall-of-Fame Club(13 pounds or more). Anglers will be encouraged to follow catch-and-release guidelines for bass 8-12.9 pounds and to document the catch with a length, weight and series of photosprior to release. A more thorough certification process will be established regardingHall-of-Fame bass. As TrophyCatch is developed andexecuted it will provide reward incentivesto encourage anglers to report and live-release trophy bass, create public/privatepartnerships to protect trophy bass,promote fishing and support conservationprograms. By documenting catches of trophy bass and publicizing them, Florida’s bass fisheries will attain even greaterworldwide prominence. By using data on when and where trophy bass are found,biologists can improve trophy-bass management via habitat enhancement,regulation management, stocking or other means that are proven to increase catchof trophy largemouth bass while fostering a strong catch-and-release conservationethic. Excitement about these angler recognition programs will increase fishingparticipation of Florida’s youth and families and attract more anglers to Floridawhile promoting strong conservation messaging. Among the most important
Jason Dotson next to an example of a Hall of Fame award for the TrophyCatch program.

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