Alaska Region Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan
The plan is built around the policy goals and guiding principles identified in NOAA’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy.
Alaska’s 40,544 miles of coastline make up 40 percent of the total U.S. coastline and provide an abundance of recreational fishing opportunities in both fresh and marine waters. In 2020, recreational anglers spent a combined 565,628 angler days fishing marine waters off Alaska. Commonly caught sport fish species include Pacific halibut, rockfishes, Pacific cod, lingcod,, and five species of Pacific salmon—Chinook, chum, coho, pink, and sockeye. In marine waters, Pacific halibut is the most common sport-caught species, averaging more than 620,000 fish caught annually by recreational anglers between 2011 and 2020. A 2023 study estimated that anglers in 2020 spent more than $223 million on marine recreational fishing trip expenditures in Alaska and supported 2,300 jobs in the state.
The State of Alaska manages most of Alaska’s recreational fisheries including in federal waters out to 200 nautical miles. The State’s role in the management of recreational fisheries encompasses issuing angler fishing licenses, licensing fishing guides, licensing charter vessels, administering the charter vessel logbook program, estimating recreational harvest and effort, and managing species other than Pacific halibut. NOAA Fisheries’ regulatory authority for recreational fishing off Alaska is generally focused on Pacific salmon and Pacific halibut.
NOAA Fisheries supports the mission of the Pacific Salmon Commission to implement the Pacific Salmon Treaty, which includes management of salmon stocks in Alaska. Sport fishing regulations for Pacific halibut in Alaska are developed on the international, federal, and state levels by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Support, Maintain, and Recover Sustainable Saltwater Recreational and Non-Commercial Fisheries Resources, Including Protected Species, and Healthy Marine and Estuarine Habitats
Address Recreational Release Mortality in Partnership with Anglers
Distribute descending devices (barotrauma mitigation), circle hooks, and educational materials to private anglers in Alaska to improve survival of released fish. The project supports guiding principles 3 and 5. Metrics of success include number of individual encounters with private anglers and distribution of descending release devices, circle hooks, and educational leaflets.
Alaska Marine Recreational Information Program Regional Implementation Plan
Work collaboratively with the State of Alaska and other partners to implement data collection improvements certified through the program. The project supports guiding principles 3 and 5. Metrics of success include completion of projects identified within the Alaska Marine Recreational Information Program Regional Implementation Plan.
Alaska Fish Habitat Mapping and Community Science Project
Partner with the recreational fishing community to expand the State of Alaska’s Anadromous Waters Catalog by documenting previously unknown anadromous waters and species in Southeast Alaska. The project supports guiding principles 1, 5, and 6. Metrics of success include the survey and submission of candidate sites and species for addition to the catalog.
Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Saltwater Recreational and Non-Commercial Fishing for the Social, Cultural, and Economic Benefit of the Nation
Bristol Bay Guide Academy
Support the Bristol Bay Guide Academy, a program of workforce development and recreational fisheries awareness designed for young Alaskan natives. The project supports guiding principles 2, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include the continuation of a successful outreach program by providing ongoing financial support.
Enable Enduring Participation In, and Enjoyment Of, Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Through Science-Based Conservation and Management
Recreational Quota Entity
Plan and execute public scoping meetings to guide development of the Recreational Quota Entity. The project supports guiding principles 2, 4, and 5. Metrics of success include the number of scoping meetings conducted, geographic scope of the meetings, meetings that are inclusive of all prominent types of guided recreational fishing operations, and number of meeting participants.
Advance Climate-Ready Policies and Programs to Respond to Climate-Driven Changes and Impacts on Fishery Resources and the Ecosystem
Support NOAA’s Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative
NOAA's Restoration Center has recommended projects across Alaska to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Investing in America agenda. Across Alaska, five projects will create jobs and boost economic and environmental outcomes for coastal communities. The project supports guiding principles 1, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include the number of projects funded and completed around rural coastal communities where non-commercial angling is an important way of life.
Pursue and Support Equitable Treatment and Meaningful Involvement of Underserved and Underrepresented Communities in Recreational and Non-Commercial Fisheries and Stewardship
Marine Resource Education Program
Support the North Pacific Marine Resource Education Program to enhance public participation in the federal fisheries science and management process. The project supports guiding principles 3 and 6. Metrics of success include execution of program science and management workshops.