Press Releases

RBFF Awards 15 State Programs Funding through 2021 State R3 Program Grants
Programs will focus on retaining anglers and boaters after fishing license sales increased 11% in 2020
We are pleased to support these state agencies in implementing programs focused on retaining these newcomers and keeping them out on the water.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (March 18, 2021)  Through its State R3 Program Grants, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) recently awarded funds to 15 programs in 14 states. Now in its seventh year, the State R3 Program Grants’ goal is to support state recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) initiatives to increase fishing and boating participation; this year, the funds provided to state agencies are dedicated to angler and boater customer engagement strategies to retain anglers and boaters.


RBFF is providing $308,000 in retention grants this year. The 14 state agencies are contributing more than $380,000 in project funds and in-kind support, bringing the total amount of funding support to more than $688,000 for these retention programs.


Nationally, state agencies have experienced a 11% increase in fishing license sales in 2020 versus 2019, with resident fishing licenses sales up 15%. This growth indicates a net gain of 3.2 million fishing licenses. With this surge in participation, RBFF focused the 2021 grants program on retention efforts to keep the 2020 anglers and boaters participating.


“With millions of Americans taking up fishing or boating as new or returning participants in 2020, and our research indicating 90% of new anglers want to continue participating in the sport, this represents a great opportunity,” said Stephanie Hussey, RBFF’s State R3 Program Director. “We are pleased to support these state agencies in implementing programs focused on retaining these newcomers and keeping them out on the water.”


The State R3 Program Grants fund sustainable and replicable angler and boater R3 initiatives and plans that focus on increasing fishing license sales and boat registrations to help achieve 60 million anglers in 60 months. Proposals are reviewed and selected by RBFF staff and a Proposal Review Working Group made up of industry and NGO representatives.


The 2021 grantees include:


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

  • First-time Florida Fishing License Buyer Retention Campaign


Idaho Department of Fish and Game

  • Idaho Fish and Game Retention Post Card and Sticker


Iowa Department of Natural Resources

  • Community-based Fishing Social Media Influencer Marketing Campaign


Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

  • Retaining and Reactivating Anglers in Kentucky using the "Kentucky Fishing Forecast"


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

  • Retaining New and Reactivated Anglers Near LDWF's Urban Community Fishing Sites


Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

  • Post-Pandemic Participation: Digital Strategies to Retain Anglers in 2021 and Beyond


Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

  • Retention of New and Reactivated Anglers from 2020


Nevada Department of Wildlife

  • 2021 R3 Growth


North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

  • Retaining COVID-19 Related Recruits and Reactivations
  • Family and Friends Fishing Series


Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Leveraging OTT (Over-The-Top) Advertising to Reach and Retain Angling Pandemic Participants


Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

  • Retaining 2020 Recruited and Reactivated License Buyers


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

  • COVID-Era Customers: New Angler Retention Campaign


Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department

  • Retaining Newly Recruited and Reactivated Vermont Anglers with Social Media Influencers


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Angler Retention Plan


This grant program was conducted in 2020 and partially funded by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) through a USFWS financial assistance award (#F18AC00145). Sport Fish Restoration

About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase recreational angling and boating participation, thereby protecting and restoring the nation's aquatic natural resources. RBFF's 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 to build awareness of boating, fishing, and conservation and educate people about the benefits of participation. The campaign websites feature how-to-videos and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots, helping boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan, and equip for a successful day on the water. RBFF also offers its industry stakeholders many tools including a Fishing License & Boat Registration Plugin to connect their customers with the information they need in just one click, as well as an embeddable Places to Fish & Boat Map to help their customers discover places to fish and boat near them.