Celebrate start of national fishing and boating week 2009

WASHINGTON D.C. (USFWS) - Joined by Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett and several hundred schoolchildren fishing at a pond on the National Mall, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a Secretarial Order on June 8 establishing an Office of Youth in Natural Resources at the Department of the Interior. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, also served to kick-off this year's observance of National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW).

Earlier in the day, the students joined together in a ceremonial "first cast" and with the help of many volunteers fished for largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie in the Constitution Gardens Pond. The youngsters from several Washington Metro area schools learned fishing techniques, angler ethics and safety and aquatic conservation.

NFBW is a national annual celebration recognizing the importance of fishing and boating observed during the first full week in June. It is coordinated by one of the Service's partners, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

This event reflects the Service's priority of helping young people get outdoors and enjoy America's rich and diverse natural resources. It offers opportunities for them to participate in outdoor activities and learn about potential careers in natural resource management and conservation.

Sponsored by the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Catch A Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) for Kids Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Blacks in Government, American Sportfishing Association and American Recreation Coalition.

This kick-off is just one of thousands of community events held during the annual nationwide observance of these two hugely popular outdoor pastimes. Many states do not require a fishing license during the annual celebration week and hold fishing clinics, casting contests, derbies, fish hatchery open houses and any number of other family-oriented activities.

There are some 40 million anglers and 70 million recreational boaters who enjoy these great American traditions. NFBW encourages families to fish together as one of the best ways to get outdoors and have meaningful and memorable experiences.   Fishing and boating both make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, supporting millions of jobs and adding billions of dollars to state tax revenues through equipment purchases and tourism-related expenditures.   For more information on where you can get out and enjoy National Fishing and Boating Week, go to www.takemefishing.org. You can also discover the many fishing and boating spots managed across the nation by the Department of the Interior by going to www.recreation.gov.