For the 33rd year, Ohio Sea Grant’s Charter Captains Conference will help prepare Lake Erie fishing charter boat captains for the upcoming season by providing updates about Lake Erie's 2014 fishing outlook, environmental conditions, licensing, regulations, and business management. The conference will be held on Saturday, March 1, at the Cedar Point Conference Center on the Bowling Green State University Firelands Campus, and is co-sponsored by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
Jessica Barber, Fish Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will update captains on the Service's efforts to control invasive sea lampreys in Lake Erie. Jonathan Coholich of Navionics will present the company's newest navigation and sonar equipment, and OSU Extension Tax Field Specialist Larry Gearhardt will offer tax tips to charter business owners.
Other speakers will include representatives from the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Sandusky Fisheries Research Unit and Lake Erie Law Enforcement Unit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District and the U.S. Coast Guard. Scott Zody, ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief, will present the Charter Captain of the Year Award.
"By educating charter captains who can in turn educate many other anglers on Lake Erie, we are able to reach several thousand fishermen," says Ohio Sea Grant Extension Educator Tory Gabriel, who organizes the annual event. "Not only do captains learn about how to improve their business, but they also hear about this year's fishing outlook and new regulations that will affect their day-to-day operation."
In past years, nearly all the captains who attended the conference reported that they learned new information that will help in future decision making, and that they intended to share what they learned. Three-quarters of captains who attended previous years said they modified their behavior because of what they learned at the conference, and 30 percent reported an increase in profitability thanks to information from the conference.
Ohio State University's Ohio Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 32 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information on Ohio Sea Grant, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.