Passports to Fishing Reaches its First Year
In March 2019, the IGFA launched the Passports to Fishing program to help develop the next generation of ethical, conservation-minded anglers around the world. Over the past year, a total of 56 of these “fishing clinics in a box” have been distributed to 21 different countries on six continents, including 11 different U.S. states and territories.
Kit recipients include IGFA representatives, captains, clubs, and individual members, as well as strategic partners such as the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the National Park Service (NPS). In total, these kits have been directly responsible for helping to educate nearly 10,000 children around the globe over the past year.
As we reflect on the inaugural year of this exciting program that continues to build momentum at a speedy rate, we would like to share some of the highlights from over the past year.
Shamin Shaimah received the very first IGFA Passports to Fishing kit which she has used to host monthly sessions for children and their families visiting Malaysia through her program The Milkfish Lady. Shamin has also used the kit to teach children in Singapore, which is where the first official Passports to Fishing event in Asia occurred on March 30, 2019. There are big plans for 2020 as she works tirelessly to educate the next generation of ethical anglers and bring the importance of game fish conservation to the foreground within her community.
One of the first kits traveled to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands with the IGFA Education team to host fishing clinics for families on the island. Earlier this month, IGFA staff returned to Grand Cayman to teach nearly 300 children and their families. It is wonderful to witness the growth of this event year over year and to see how it has sparked an interest in fishing within families who participate.
“The boys and us had a great time and will definitely look to go fishing again. The event was really well organized, and all involved did great work. I'm sure there were lots of fishermen and women born that day!”
- Father of two new young anglers.
Working with IGFA Representative Gary Graham, several IGFA Passports to Fishing kits were sent to Baja California Sur, Mexico over the past year, where they have made an incredible impact on the local community. By pairing the IGFA kit with the efforts of Clinicas Infantil de Pesca Deportiva, a program created by FONMAR - a trust established by the Baja government for the promotion of sport fishing and the conservation and preservation of marine resources - the kits helped to educate nearly 1,000 locals in communities throughout the Baja Peninsula.
Representatives from FONMAR present the IGFA with an appreciation award during the 2020 Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, California, for the support from the Passports to Fishing Program.
In 2019, the IGFA formed a strategic partnership with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), focused on youth angler education. Last year the IGFA distributed Passports to Fishing kits to all four regional chairs of the BSA’s fishing committee and the kit even made an appearance at the World Scout Jamboree to assist the IGFA and BSA Certified Angling Instructors in teaching 5,000 Scouts from countries all over the world.
While these are just a few highlights from 2019, there are plenty of more stories to come as the IGFA Passports to Fishing program continues to grow. In fact, the first Passports to Fishing kits of 2020 are already in transit to the Japan Game Fish Association (JGFA), the King Bay Game Fishing Club in Western Australia, and to BSA Area Leads around the United States.
The IGFA would like to thank all of our supporters who helped make this program come to life, specifically Mustad, Plano, Rapala, Zebco, and Bass Pro Shops for Passports to Fishing product support as well as the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Fish Florida, Mercury Marine, and the Coastal Impact Fund for supporting kit development and distribution.
To learn how you can support the Passports to Fishing program and get more kits in angling communities around the world, please contact IGFA Youth Education Manager, Lisa Morse at [email protected].