Wilton Simpson donates $100k to hunting and fishing ballot initiative

by | May 6, 2024

Wilton Simpson, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, contributed $100,000 to the “Yes on 2” campaign, endorsing a ballot initiative aimed at making fishing and hunting fundamental public rights in Florida.

Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson donated $100,000 on Monday in support the “Yes on 2” campaign, which seeks to rally support for a ballot initiative to enshrine fishing and hunting as a fundamental public right.

Simpson, who previously pledged verbal support of the initiative, marks the first large-scale donation to the campaign, as advocates rally to reach the required approval by at least 60 percent of the electors voting on the measure in November. The Yes On 2 campaign announced last week on social media that it had officially commenced operations.

“Fishing and hunting are inextricably linked to our economy, our lifestyle and the conservation of our land. I’m proud to support Yes On 2!” Simpson said on X following disclosure of his donation.

The amendment “recognizes the importance of hunting and fishing to Florida’s cultural heritage and its economy,” according to the resolution’s draft language. If ratified, it would take effect on January 7, 2025.

“The campaign to preserve fishing and hunting rights in Florida has officially launched!” The campaign posted on X, adding on its website that “Amendment 2 preserves Florida’s rich traditions, conservation practices, outdoor lifestyle and economic opportunities.”

Saltwater fishing has a significant economic impact on Florida, earning the state the title of “Fishing Capital of the World.” In the fiscal year 2019-20, the state sold 1.5 million recreational saltwater licenses, generating $37.8 million in total sales. The economic impact of saltwater recreational fishing alone is $9.2 billion, though when combined, saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing have an economic impact of $13.8 billion, according to state data.

Moreover, saltwater recreational fishing supports 88,501 jobs in Florida, while both saltwater and freshwater fishing support 120,000 jobs in total. In 2019 and 2020, Florida’s commercial fisheries generated $3.2 billion in income and supported 76,700 jobs, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Altogether, outdoor recreation remains crucial to Florida’s economy, with recreational fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing generating an economic impact of $10.1 billion annually.


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