BOARD OF DIRECTORS
North Palm Beach
Salt Water Sportsman
North Palm Beach
Marsha Bierman Enterprises
Gulf Coast Graphics
Half Hitch Tackle
Panama City Beach
Dr. Greg Tolley
Florida Gulf Coast University
West Palm Beach Fishing Club
West Palm Beach
Florida Sports Foundation
Dave Workman, Jr.
FISH FLORIDA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supports organizations that teach people, especially children, about Florida’s fish and aquatic habitats through donations of fishing equipment, grants, and scholarships.
The mission of Fish Florida is to promote public awareness of and encourage the protection of marine fisheries and coastal habitats. This is accomplished through clinics, classes, seminars, presentations, displays and other means designed to teach and promote responsible angling, particularly to Florida’s youth.
Today – Fish Florida continues our support of kids’ fishing clinics, fishing and conservation education programs and students. Buying the Fish Florida license plate is just one way to help. Please tell your friends about our programs, ask for postcards you can hand out and volunteer at kids’ fishing clinics in your community.
2014 – Fish Florida’s sailfish license plate was the 20th best selling plate in Florida. Your purchase of the Fish Florida license plate enabled us to donate more than 22,300 rods and reels to 126 kids’ fishing clinics throughout Florida, award more than $76,000.00 in grants to organizations running fantastic fishing education programs, and give $15,000 in scholarships to marine science students at four Florida universities.
2006 – FFRA begins doing business as Fish Florida – it’s much easier to say and it’s what we do. Fish Florida donated more than 10,000 rods, reels, and tackle kits to 48 kids’ fishing clinics in 37 Florida cities, awarded more than $100,000.00 in grants among 12 Florida organizations that began or enhanced a fishing education program, and established scholarships at three Florida universities, awarding $10,000.00 to marine and freshwater science students. In 2006, 18,488 Fish Florida license plates sold, ranking Fish Florida 29th out of Florida’s 105 specialty plates.
2005 – FFRA provided 20 organizations in more than 18 Florida communities with over $39,000.00 in grants and 5,525 rods and reels. Because of FFRA’s support, 8,220 children and adults learned something new about Florida’s fish and environment. More than 21,000 Fish Florida license plates have sold since they went on sale in March of 2004. That puts the plate in 30th place out of Florida’s 100 specialty plates, proving that anglers are dedicated to and conscientious about the future of their sport.
“Recreational fisheries are an integral component of our national heritage and continue to play an important role in the social, cultural, and economic well-being of our Nation. We must strengthen our efforts in order to conserve, restore, and enhance aquatic systems to provide for increased recreational fishing opportunities nationwide.”
Biennial Report to the President of the United Slates. Federal Agency Implementation of Executive Order 12962 – Recreational Fisheries. Highlights of Accomplishments for Fiscal Years iyo.6-1997, Prepared by National Recreational Fisheries Coordination Council, Washington D.C.
March 2004 – With final designs, colors, and production complete, the Fish Florida license plate goes on sale at local Department of Motor Vehicle offices. At least 75% of every dollar from license plate proceeds is used for programs, with less than 25% being spent on administration and marketing. By the end of the year, more than 6,700 Fish Florida plates sold providing the FFRA with more than $140,000 to run our programs.
2003 – When the legislative session began, Senator Ken Pruitt and Representative Gayle Harrell sponsored the bill that made the Fish Florida specialty license plate a reality. Later that fall, Governor Jeb Bush signed the official documents and the FFRA’s license plate could now be produced.
April 2000 – The FFRA Board of Directors voted unanimously to pursue a specialty license plate in an effort to expand our ability to fund aquatic education and angling-related programs and promote responsible angling in Florida.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) said the FFRA needed 15,000 registered vehicle owners to say they would buy the specialty plate and $60,000 for the application fee, as well as legislative sponsors to get the license plate approved by the Florida legislature.
Thanks to the hard work of the FFRA Board of Directors and many anglers and supporters, we got the signatures and money for the application fee. These, along with a marketing plan, legislative language, and the sailfish artwork (beautifully created by board member Diane Peebles), were submitted to the DHSMV.
July 1, 1999 – A merger between the marine divisions of the DEP and the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission moved the FFRA to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The FFRA continued to act as a mechanism to purchase equipment for FWC’s Kids’ Fishing Clinics by accepting private donations and buying rods and reels from Zebco and Shakespeare.
May 8, 1998 – Our BIRTHDAY! DEP established a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that encouraged responsible angling using programs focusing on the conservation of Florida’s marine habitats. The Florida Foundation for Responsible Angling, Inc. (FFRA) was developed to coordinate financial and volunteer support for education programs and to develop community programs such as Marine Educational Grants and a Saltwater Rod Loaner Program.
1996 – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) saw a need for improved recreational fisheries and, through its Division of Marine Resources, developed educational programs to reach anglers and non-anglers. The success of programs like Kids’ Fishing Clinics and Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing led to an outpouring of community support.