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Q. What is Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs (HOFNOD)?
A. The Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program is a national program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation. The program's goal is to encourage school-aged children to avoid drugs and alcohol by providing alternative activities that involve learning to fish, appreciating aquatic and environmental resources, and developing positive life skills. See the enabling legislation, Assembly Bill 638 1R.

Q. Who sponsors the program?
A. The Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program in New Jersey is run by the New Jersey Department Of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Fish and Wildlife.

Q. Who is the HOFNOD program intended for?
The HOFNOD program is intended for school-aged children between the ages of 7 to 21, as per the enabling legislation. However, the program is ideal for youth from fourth grade to high school. Groups that serve young adults ages 18 to 21 may be eligible to participate on a case-by-case basis.

Q. What are some first steps to starting a HOFNOD program?
A. The first steps are to:

  • identify the group leader(s) for the program (2-3 adult leaders are recommended);
  • decide when, where, and how often the group will meet (there is a requirement of 24 or more sessions);
  • identify one or more suitable fishing location(s) that is/are readily accessible for the duration of your program;
  • draft an outline or syllabus of activities and/or a calendar of events for your program (required);
  • complete and return a Program Registration form to the state HOFNOD coordinator.

Q. Where does funding for this program come from?
A. Pursuant to the legislation, $200,000 from the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund is appropriated annually to the DEP to fund implementation of the program.

Q. What will the program funds cover?
A. Program funding is available for participating groups and may be used for training adult leaders, providing educational materials & supplies, securing fishing gear and equipment, and to subsidize field trips. Group leaders may submit a request for gear, equipment and services to support their program activities. Those supplies and/or services will be contracted and paid for by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Q. Is attending a Division of Fish and Wildlife HOFNOD training mandatory?
A. Yes. The success of the program depends on the delivery of the content, which includes: fish biology, aquatic ecology, fostering positive social skills, and strategies related to avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco. However, you don't need to wait until leaders are trained to get a group started.

Q. Does the Future Fisherman Foundation's online training qualify me for New Jersey's program?
A. No. New Jersey's HOFNOD program, being a state mandate, has specific criteria and benchmarks for success not required by other states. New Jersey is the only state where the HOFNOD Program is required by law.

Q. Is there a minimum number of participants to qualify as a group?
A. Yes. Eight or more participants constitute a group, with the optimal size usually between 10 and 25. Typically, the number of participants is based on the skills, knowledge and abilities of the group leader(s). Participants in a group cannot all be related to each other.

Q. Can schools participate in this program?
A. Yes. The program can be integrated into school curricula; it is not limited to Life Science and/or Physical Education.

Q. Can private and/or nonprofit organizations participate in this program?
A. Yes. The program targets faith- and community-based organizations that provide year-round programming for youth (e.g. Boys & Girls Clubs, YM/YWCA, scouts and 4H). The program is flexible and can be integrated into a variety of youth programs.

Q. How do I obtain fishing gear and equipment for my program?
A. Request for materials, supplies, gear and equipment are made, in writing, to the HOFNOD coordinator at the start of your program. Processing paperwork may take up to 2-3 weeks.

Q. Can funding cover transportation costs?
A. Yes. Request for transportation costs must be made in writing well in advance of the outing date. Support may not be requested for both transportation AND admission to a facility for a single trip.

Q. Can I receive cash to support my program?
A. No. Cash will not be distributed to participating groups. Financial support can be requested on official letterhead. No purchases or commitments of service should be made until approved by the HOFNOD coordinator.

Q. What are the requirements for participation?
A. Each group must complete a pre- and post-test survey and provide the program coordinator data on their HOFNOD Program annually pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1). The data must include: the number of school districts or municipalities represented by the participants; the number of youths participating in the program including ages and genders; and the effectiveness of the program in terms of drug usage avoidance or incidents among participating students.

Q. Is liability insurance required?
A. No, liability insurance is not required to participate in the program, however it is strongly recommended.

Q. Can program funds be used to cover the cost of liability insurance?
No. Each group is responsible for acquiring and managing their groups' liability.

Q. Once provided to the group, who owns the fishing gear and equipment?
A. Each participating youth is entitled to keep one rod/reel combo along with fishing gear and tackle bag which they should use during the duration of the program. Educational materials are the property of the organization/group leader while a group is active. Upon the end of a program all educational materials should be returned to the coordinator.

Q. Who is responsible for maintaining the gear and equipment?
A. The group leaders are responsible for managing and maintaining all gear and equipment until it is given to the participants to keep. Replacement equipment is available, on a case-by-case basis. Neglected, unmaintained or abused equipment will not be replaced.

Q. Can funds for this program be used outside of the state of New Jersey?
A. No. Funding is only available to residents of New Jersey for use within the state.

Q. Are other funds available to support HOFNOD activities?
A. Groups are strongly encouraged to seek and solicit financial assistance and in-kind donations to support their group. Group Leaders should be planning for a self-sustaining program.

Back to HOFNOD In New Jersey Page

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: July 1, 2019