Outreach and Education
The FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management, Outreach and Education subsection was created in the early 1990’s to educate the public about marine fisheries conservation, fisheries research, and the role people have in fisheries management. This section’s staff travels throughout Florida and offers a variety of engaging programs for recreational anglers and participates in numerous public events. Through their efforts, the public has opportunities to learn more about some of Florida’s most important natural resources. These activities include: Ladies Let’s Go Fishing, fishing and boat show presentations, the State Hatchery Outreach Program, presentations to fishing clubs, the Grand Slam Program, angler intercepts, and aquatic resource education.
Fishing and Boat Show Presentations
FWC Outreach and Education staff regularly attend fishing and boating shows, setting up a booth featuring a large Sport Fish Restoration display, a 500 gallon saltwater aquarium, and tables with the many FWC publications. Outreach at these shows gives anglers a chance to interact one-on-one with a staff member so they can ask questions and see demonstrations on the use of venting tools, dehookers, and proper fish handling.
State Hatchery Outreach Program
The purpose of this program is to inform saltwater anglers of the role of Fisheries stock enhancement in managing Florida’s saltwater resources and how the SFR funding contributes to the effort. Tours of FWC’s Stock Enhancement Research Facility (SERF) and special opportunity fishing events are given throughout the year to provide kids and stakeholder groups an opportunity to view hatchery operations and to catch marine sport fish while teaching them how to be ethical anglers and stewards of natural resources and the benefits of SFR.
Presentations to Fishing Clubs
The outreach and education staff also gives presentations to fishing clubs and other interested groups. These presentations inform Florida’s anglers and boaters about SFR projects and funding, allow staff to disseminate SFR funded fisheries conservation material, provide a forum for dialogues about fisheries issues, and garner anglers’ support for fisheries conservation.
This program is conducted in collaboration with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). State all-tackle records for the heaviest fishes caught in Florida waters are maintained for over 73 marine species in conventional tackle and fly fishing categories. Catches must be made according to IGFA angling rules.
Grand Slam Program
This program was designed to encourage anglers to target a variety of species during their fishing trips. Any angler who provides information that they have caught three particular fish species within a one-day period can apply for these Grand Slams.
Angler Intercepts offers extra opportunities to create responsible marine resource stewards by reaching anglers at local boat ramps spread throughout Florida. FWC outreach and education staff set up a literature table at local boat ramps featuring FWC publications provided free of charge, thanks largely to SFR funds. These intercepts give anglers the opportunity to interact with a staff member and see demonstrations on how to dehook and vent a fish, as well as proper fish handling.