Fishing isn’t just an excuse to get away from civilization and enjoy the serenity of nature, it’s also a powerful tool to keep the youth away from drugs thank to the Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs (HOFNOD) program.

"Hooked On Fishing" participant with his catch (NJ DEP)

Establishing a HOFNOD program as part of the State’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is the brainchild of shore Senator Christopher J. Connors as well as Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove. Bill S-178/A-638 passed unanimously in both houses of legislature last year, and was signed by Governor Christie signed on Friday.

The initiative proposed by the 9th District legislators models the statewide program after HOFNOD pilot program in Ocean County which was created in 2000.

Connors says “we believe New Jersey is an ideal location for the program with its 127 miles of coastline and the many rivers and lake.”

$200,000 in funding will come from Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund (DEDRF), and be available to religious, school, and community programs to create HOFNOD activities.

Connors says in addition to angling skills, the curriculum of HOFNOD focuses on conservation ethics and social skills, all while promoting self esteem.

“Not only does it give the opportunity for our young citizens to appreciate and learn more about the outdoors; it certainly teaches them the skill that they need to learn the sport. Additionally, it gives them self esteem and develops camaraderie.” Says Connors.

NJ Senator Chris Connors (R-9) (Facebook)

He notes the program has support from the recreational fishing alliance, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, New Jersey Recreational Parks Association, the State Federation of Sportsman, New Jersey Outdoor Alliance.

“So there are many groups that could sponsor those programs, very effectively in our state.”

Connor’s notes it won’t cost tax payers a cent as DEDRF is a statutory account established to receive fines and penalties from convicted drug offenders that are used to support State authorized drug and alcohol abuse abatement programs.

 

 

Hooked on Fishing  Not on Drugs@ (HOFNOD) is a nationally recognized program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation. To the maximum extent possible, the Division will implement and operate the program in every county in the State.