Presenter: Dr. Larry McKinney

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Fishing for the Future
June 1999

I. Discussion: Today Texas arguably provides the best overall fishing in the United States. Texas anglers (1996-97) are spending $1,000 each and fishing a combined 51 million days a year to prove it. Out of state anglers contributed $79 million last year and helped boost Texas past Florida and into second place (behind California) in total fishing expenditures. That translates into $6.2 billion dollars of economic benefits to Texas each year.

TPWD has met the strategic goals established 25 years ago. Today a Texan in any major city in the state is within a ninety-minute drive of the opportunity to catch a lunker bass, or if casting a line into any Texas bay, having a similar chance for red drum and spotted seatrout.

What we did to get to this point will not necessarily serve us to maintain our fisheries. The challenges will be different. By the year 2030 we will have twice as many Texans (34 million) as we do now.

Recruiting a new generation of anglers. We are not doing a good job recruiting new anglers, or at least, we are not retaining them. There seem to be three reasons that challenge us: access, opportunity, and cost.

Winning strategies for the future of fishing. We need more kids fishing, so programs like KidFish and others like it, must be enhanced. We cannot forget adults. We need organized programs that provide mentors for all ages. We must turn that perceived constraint into an opportunity for family fun wherever we can. We must expand access.

We can be successful, not only in preserving our Texas fishing legacy, but enhancing it for future anglers. It will take all of us working together. The talent, dedication, even passion is there among Texas anglers to assure success. We must tap all of it in fishing for the future.

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