July 1984 // Volume 22 // Number 4 // Ideas at Work // 4IAW1

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Fishing Symposium Impacts


Frank R. Lichtkoppler
District Extension Specialist,
Sea Grant Cooperative Extension Service
Ohio State University-Painesville

For several years, the Fairport Harbor Rod and Reel Association, located in Lake County, Ohio, has sponsored a late winter Fishing Symposium. For the past three years, the Cooperative Extension Sea Grant Program has helped plan the symposium. its purpose is to help the public learn more about Sport fishing in Northeast Ohio. Small marine-related businesses and local conservation groups are given the chance to interact with the fishing public.

Over 50 businesses and 25 conservation and service groups, including Extension Sea Grant, participated in the 1984 symposium, with 24 seminars on fishing, Lake Erie, boating safety, and 6 educational films rounding out the schedule. Estimated attendance in 1984 was 12,000-15,000 people.

This year the district Extension specialist, Sea Grant, tried to evaluate the economic and educational impact of the symposium. From a counted population of 6,300 people randomly passing a central point, volunteers asked every 50th adult to participate in a survey. Of 115 adults asked, 105 (91 %) returned useful surveys. The high rate of return may be due, in part, to the fact that people completing the survey were eligible for a drawing for a tackle box donated by a local newspaper.

An estimated $180,000 worth of sales of sport fishing goods and services may have been generated at the Fishing Symposium. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents reported nonfood expenditures. Amounts reportedly spent ranged from $1.00 to $103.00 per individual. The average expenditure, excluding food, was $18.10 per respondent who purchased something.

Nine out of 10 respondents said they gained new knowledge as a result of viewing the exhibits. Of those responding, 38% were unaware of Extension Sea Grant before the symposium. Eighty-eight percent said they gained new knowledge from their contact with Extension Sea Grant. Almost 9 out of 10 said they've shared or would share the information received from Extension Sea Grant with their family or friends.

Comments like "made me more aware of the (Extension) Service" and "made me more aware of the scientific aspects of fishing Lake Erie" were common. The survey provided data supporting the allocation of Extension Sea Grant resources to this community educational event.