Article Posted: December 18, 2000

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COLUMBUS, OH -- Ohio has been selected along with Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington to participate in a pilot project to promote recreational boating and fishing in the United States, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The five year effort to help increase participation in boating and fishing, in addition to increasing public awareness and appreciation for the nation's water resources, is being led by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Each of the four states will develop state-specific plans to publicly highlight their unique strengths, resources, contributions and commitments to the recreational boating and fishing industry. ODNR's Division of Wildlife and Division of Watercraft will lead the effort in Ohio to promote the state as a destination area for boating and fishing and to encourage more Ohioans to participate in these and other water resource recreational activities.

"We are looking forward to combining our efforts to do a super job of making boating and fishing cooler than ever in the American public's mind. These four states were chosen because they have the right combination of state agencies, businesses, organizations and local communities to take immediate advantage of our national efforts," said Bruce Matthews, RBFF president and chief operating officer.

A focal point for implementing its national outreach and marketing program is coordination of celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week June 1-10, 2001. Additionally, the RBFF will be working with the four states to encourage more participation in boating and fishing.

Ohio ranks 8th nationally with 408,495 watercraft registrations. Recreational boating contributes an estimated $1.4 billion annually to the state's economy and helps support more than 19,500 jobs.

Recreational sportfishing in Ohio is enjoyed each year by an estimated 1.3 million residents, who contribute approximately $1 billion to the state's economy and help support 22,000 Ohio jobs. The Buckeye State ranked 11th nationally in the number of people who went fishing and the number of days spent fishing during 1996, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife service Survey.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was established after passage in 1998 of the Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act, which allocated $36 million of Sport Fish Restoration Funds to implement a five-year outreach and communication effort. The ODNR's divisions of Watercraft and Wildlife regulate and administer various rules and projects associated with the wise use and conservation of water and wildlife resources.

Source: ODNR

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