After decades of dedicated service both on Capitol Hill advocating for fisheries resource conservation and management and as the leader for the recreational fishing industry’s trade association, the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) President and CEO, Mike Nussman, has announced that he will retire as of March 31, 2018.
Nussman joined the association in December 1992 as Vice President of Government Affairs which included serving as chief lobbyist and overseeing the trade show and conservation programs. In September 2001, ASA’s board of directors unanimously voted to hire him as President and CEO.
“From the beginning, I believed that by serving our members’ business needs with a knowledgeable staff; providing programs and services that benefit the industry; and maintaining fiscal responsibility, the industry would be well-served by the association,” said Nussman. “When we stand together to advance and protect our shared interests, the sportfishing industry has far greater influence than would otherwise be possible. This has always been true, and it’s even more consequential today.”
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to work with Mike Nussman,” said Peter Foley, president, Boone Bait Company, ASA’s Treasurer Emeritus and a decades-long ASA member. “I was on the board of directors when Mike was hired as President and CEO and it was one of the best decisions this association has ever made. His tireless work on behalf of this trade association and our industry is admired by everyone who knows him.”
Foley further said, “Over the past 25 years, with Mike at the helm, we have established a solid financial base which allows our association to work on projects and programs that benefit not just our members, but the entire recreational fishing industry. In fact, without Mike’s foresight and determination to increase participation in fishing, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation would not exist. I believe I speak for many people when I say his leadership will be missed.”
While Nussman has been influential on numerous pieces of legislation from Sport Fish Restoration to the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, he was a driving force for the legislation that established the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) which has provided nearly $100 million for a nationwide, collaborative campaign to promote these outdoor pastimes.
“For 25 years, Mike Nussman has been the heart and soul of the American Sportfishing Association, bringing his love of the sport and his keen business sense to help ensure our industry’s future,” said Kirk Immens, ASA’s board of directors chairman and President of Sportco Marketing, Inc. “I’ve always been impressed by Mike’s ability to understand our industry; our members’ business needs; and what ASA can do to address them. Mike clearly sets a high bar when it comes to professional excellence.”
“When I was hired as President, there were several things I wanted to accomplish,” said Nussman. “Revitalizing the industry’s trade show was number one on my list. ICAST is now the largest recreational fishing trade show in the world and a destination for sportfishing industry representatives from around the globe. Without the board of directors and our members’ support, this would not have been possible!”
In addition to establishing RBFF, Nussman also worked to elevate and extend ASA’s Government Affairs efforts and impact by developing strategic partnerships with federal and state agencies and other associations and organizations.
To this end, Nussman had a pivotal role in enhancing the association’s ability to educate and inform more anglers and outdoor enthusiasts about the issues that impact public resource access and participation in recreational fishing through ASA’s national angler advocacy campaign, Keep America Fishing® and through ASA’s Florida-based advocacy effort, Keep Florida Fishing®.
Nussman brought a decade-long background in fisheries policy and Congressional relations to the association.Nussman worked for nine years on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. In 1994 Nussman was appointed to be the U.S. Recreational Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, a post he held until 2000. In this position, he took a lead role in developing international policies to conserve billfish and other highly migratory ocean fish.
Nussman concluded, “The past 25 years have literally flown by. It’s been a privilege to lead the American Sportfishing Association, especially when new pathways for strategic growth are now unfolding. The world is changing and our sport and our industry are changing along with it.”
Nussman will remain as ASA’s President and CEO until March 2018. The association’s board of directors will announce Nussman’s successor after its Tuesday, October 10, meeting during the 2017 Sportfishing Summit being held October 10 – 13, at the Opal Sands Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America's anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.