Updated 07:37 PM EDT, Fri, Sep 19, 2014
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Texas, Florida to Pilot Hispanic Outreach for Fishing and Boating Program

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A new outreach program is planned to lure Hispanics to fishing and boating in Florida and Texas. (Photo : Scott Ableman / Flickr)

Latinos in Texas and Florida are soon to be encouraged to do more fishing and boating as part of a five-year Hispanic Outreach program being promoted by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). Florida and Texas will serve as test markets with the participation of both the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

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The plan is set to begin in spring 2014, with a media blitz that is schedule to include digital and radio advertising and special events. Key areas to focus on will be education about the sports and the licensing requirements. Toward the end of the campaign (in years three through five) focus is set to shift toward participation drives.

"With a combined Hispanic population of 9.7 million, Florida and Texas represent key geographies to initiate our outreach efforts," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "Building on the test market results, we will expand the campaign nationwide to engage this audience that is critical to the long term sustainability of fishing and boating, and the conservation efforts that benefit from increased participation in the sport."

With the nation's highest population of Hispanics over the age of 16, the Lone Star State has a lot to gain by introducing this segment to a sport that currently only 17 percent participate in.

"Texas Parks and Wildlife welcomes this partnership with RBFF to improve outreach to Hispanic audiences," Carter Smith of the Texas Parks and Wildlife in a press release. "The effort reflects the priority we place on better serving all Texans. This is a business imperative for us in light of the rapidly changing demographics in our state. It is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do if we wish to maintain support for natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation into the future."

Florida is 24 percent Hispanic overall, but only five percent report being active anglers. Even with the lack of participation among Hispanics, the economic impact of saltwater fishing alone means $7.1 billion to the Florida economy.

"The FWC is excited to work with RBFF to better engage our Hispanic citizens. We must be more effective in conveying our conservation messages and learn how to increase Hispanic participation in boating and fishing, said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. "These nature-based activities are great ways for families to enjoy the outdoors, help support our economy, and create jobs."

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