Author: NCWRC blogger/Tuesday, December 3, 2019/Categories: Boating, Conservation, Fishing
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) hosted the state’s Inaugural Boating and Fishing Industry Summit in Greensboro as a way to improve and increase communication and partnerships between the WRC and industries that support outdoor recreation in North Carolina. The N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Division of Marine Fisheries and others joined together with manufacturers, retailers, and interested parties to talk about the Sport Fish Restoration Program that manufacturers pay as federal excise taxes and how the WRC and DMF uses the money to enhance fishing, boating and other outdoor opportunities in North Carolina.
The WRC receives grant funds collected by the Sport Fish Restoration Program through excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and import duties as part of the Dingell-Johnson Act and Wallop Breaux Amendment. These grants are a key source of funding for Commission programs and research, including everything from fish stocking to boating access area projects to law enforcement campaigns and even education programs.
Mike Piccirilli, the Region 4 chief of the Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program in Atlanta, kicked off the summit by stating “I’ve been fishing in North Carolina for 23 years and I am always thinking about those great trout streams in the Nantahala.” After explaining how the excise taxes paid by manufacturers are collected and then distributed back to the states in the form of federal grants, representatives from N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission discussed how those funds are used and why they are critical to the agency’s mission of conserving and sustaining the state’s fish and wildlife resources.
Rob Southwick, founder of Southwick Associates, also reviewed the trends impacting the fishing and boating industry. The decreasing participation in both fishing and boating was a concern of everyone in the room, however the hope of a brighter future was seen, as new partnerships and collaborative efforts were started, discussed and created.
In the end, the Summit succeeded in its mission of bringing state and federal agencies together with representatives from the fishing and boating industry to begin friendly conversations on efforts to enhance and increase outdoor activities, improve communications and create positive relationships in North Carolina. As Scott Lavin of Arizon Game & Fish noted in his address to the audience, business summits are long courtships. “This is the handshake that precedes the cup of coffee, that precedes the lunch, that precedes the dinner, that precedes the relationship,” Lavin said. “Take it slow."
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