Press Releases

Twenty Years of Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation: RBFF Celebrates Platinum Anniversary
Foundation that promotes fishing and boating celebrates 20 years of bringing participants to the water

ALEXANDRIA, VA (October 9, 2018) – Today, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) celebrates 20 years of recruiting, retaining and reactivating (R3) anglers and boaters through its marketing campaigns, partnerships, grants and more.

On October 7, 1998, RBFF was founded and tasked with reversing the trend of waning angler and boater participation – a critical mission to ensure conservation funds for generations to come. Since its inception, RBFF has worked to educate consumers, bring them to the water to try fishing and boating, keep them active and work with state fish & wildlife agencies and the industry to bring lapsed participants back.

Twenty milestones for twenty years:

“In the years leading up to RBFF’s founding, fishing participation was down and critical conservation programs were suffering as a result,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “I feel we at RBFF have corrected-course. Fishing participation has increased nearly 20% over the last 10 years, no doubt due in large part to our marketing efforts, partnerships and programs, and we are making strong progress toward our 60 in 60 goal.”

Critical to RBFF’s success has been the inclusion of emerging audiences in the foundation’s marketing, communications and programs. As the United States continues to grow more diverse each year, effectively engaging these audiences will prove more and more critical to our industry’s success. Encouragingly, RBFF’s work in this area is resonating. Female anglers accounted for 45% of new participants and Hispanic participation is at its highest level (4.2 million) since data on this segment was first collected.

Longtime fishing industry leader and former American Sportfishing Association (ASA) President and CEO, Mike Nussman remarked:

Back in 1996, when the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation results became available, it was clear that we as a fishing community had a problem. Fishing participation, which had typically increased with each previous survey, declined for the first time. ASA’s answer was to work with the State Fish and Wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to convince Congress to dedicate a small portion of the excise tax funding to the promotion of fishing and boating activities. We were successful and RBFF was created. 

I’m so pleased that RBFF has brought boating and fishing together and united our efforts to promote our sport. Working with the state agencies and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, I look forward to incredible work in the future! 

“The last twenty years have been both challenging and fulfilling, and we’re not taking any breaks. We are planning to make the next twenty even more impactful,” added Peterson.


About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation's aquatic natural resources. RBFF's recently announced 60 in 60 effort strives to attract 60 million anglers to the sport by the end of 2021. To help recruit, retain and reactivate participants, RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns creating awareness about boating, fishing and conservation, and educating people about the benefits of participation. These campaigns help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites, and, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.