Anglers Encouraged by New Recreational Fishing Policy

NOAA Fisheries publishes roadmap for recreational sector

MIAMI, FLA. — (February 12, 2015) — Saltwater anglers welcomed the announcement today of the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy rolled out at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced the policy today during a press conference headlined by its top administrator Eileen Sobeck.

“This is a major step in the right direction,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “For the first time, NOAA Fisheries officially acknowledges the inherent differences between recreational and commercial fisheries — and the need to manage the sectors differently.

“The rubber will meet the road in implementation,” he said, “but this is a good roadmap.”

The policy identifies goals and guiding principles related to recreational fishing to be integrated — top-down — into NOAA Fisheries planning, budgeting, decision-making, and activities. The goals of the policy are to: 1) support and maintain sustainable saltwater recreational fisheries resources, including healthy marine and estuarine habitats; 2) promote saltwater recreational fishing for the social, cultural, and economic benefit of the nation; and, 3) enable enduring participation in, and enjoyment of, saltwater recreational fisheries through science-based conservation and management.

Recreational anglers and boaters identified their primary priorities in the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management’s report “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries.” The Commission, headed by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, highlighted six key policies that would achieve the Commission’s vision. Establishment of a national policy for recreational saltwater fishing was its #1 recommendation. Other key elements include: adoption of a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management; allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation, and creating reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines.

Contributors to the work of the Morris-Deal Commission include American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Berkley Conservation Institute, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and The Billfish Foundation.

-end-