|“Many anglers probably don’t realize that purchasing fishing tackle from reputable companies like Z-Man (that pay a 10-percent federal excise tax) helps fund critical fishery research and conservation projects,” noted Z-Man President Daniel Nussbaum, who led the factory tour. “The excise tax dollars we pay go to a federal fund that is apportioned among the states and ultimately makes up 40-percent of states’ budgets for fisheries management, access, and education programs.”|
Nussbaum further explained the flow of funds, from the angler to federal and state agencies tasked with critical fishery and habitat initiatives. “Initially, I had no idea where this money went or even how it was spent,” said Nussbaum. “But after seeing how the funds are used, I now view it as the fishing industry’s way of giving back to support the resources we ultimately depend on for sales. In essence, the Wildlife & Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) program represents a partnership between private businesses, the federal government, and state agencies. The more we all engage, the more each of us can benefit from this partnership.”
Thanks to Z-Man’s longstanding partnership with the South Carolina DNR, Nussbaum learned that the excise tax dollars paid by Z-Man and other manufacturers enter a WSFR fund managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which is distributed back to the states in turn. “Through industry summits and facilities tours, I’ve seen firsthand how the money is being used to fund programs like fish hatcheries and stocking, education initiatives, conservation projects, public access enhancement, and enforcement,” he noted.
Paul Wilkes, USFWS’s Southeast Regional Manager for the Wildlife & Sportfish Restoration Fund, says the 72-year-old partnership between the tackle industry and wildlife management agencies has been “transformational” for fisheries management. “When we go out and fish, we don’t worry whether or not we have fish to catch and that’s due to the success of this program,” Wilkes added.