Latino Youth Celebrate Culture, Conservation during "Pesca on the Pier!"

LOS ANGELES - More than 50 Los Angeles-area youth took to rods and reels this past Friday for a saltwater fishing experience on Belmont Pier. The program "Pesca on the Pier!" held by Sportfishing Conservancy, Amigos del Aire Libre and Hispanic Access Foundation with support from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of the 5th annual Latino Conservation Week, taught multi-generational families basic fishing instruction, water safety, and hands-on conservation and aquatic stewardship activities.  

"Getting kids outdoors and in touch with nature is critical today in this digital age. The best way to develop responsible stewards is through active, first-hand experience," said Tom Raftican, president of The Sportfishing Conservancy. "We are proud to partner with the Hispanic Access Foundation and Vamos A Pescar taking kids out on this 'fish'n' expedition."

Latinos are California's largest ethnic population with almost 15 million people, yet only a fraction of California's nearly 1.8 million anglers are Latino. Events like "Pesca on the Pier!" look to provide a strong conservation initiative balanced with the cultural and economic needs of 21st century life. Additionally, the event not only help introduce the wonders of the natural environment, which for many is just minutes away, but it also teaches the youth how to respect and protect what they will come to enjoy so much.

"The future of fishing and boating depends on engaging younger, diverse audiences. We're happy to provide such an amazing opportunity to help organizations in reaching the Hispanic market," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson.

The 5th annual Latino Conservation Week, an initiative from Hispanic Access Foundation, helps Latinos connect with parks, landscapes, rivers and wildlife, but also teach more about their responsibility as environmental stewards. The week encourages and supports collaboration between a variety of partners including, individuals, organizations, businesses, churches and government agencies. More than 150 events have been scheduled nationwide. Those that took part in the summer saltwater event, will be invited to participate in a fall, freshwater outing to be held during Hispanic Heritage Month.

"This week is about engaging the Latino community with the outdoors and introducing them to accessible activities like fishing," said Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. "Latinos share a passionate for the outdoors and hold a strong belief that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards. Events like 'Pesca on the Pier!' are fostering that passion."

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