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New Plans for Engaging with Recreational Fishermen

June 03, 2019

NOAA Fisheries has developed region-specific plans for connecting to and collaborating with the recreational fishing community. 


NOAA Fisheries is sharpening our focus on engaging recreational fishermen where they live and fish. Engaging the marine recreational fishing community is fundamental to successful fisheries management, yet is highly challenging with nearly 10 million saltwater fishermen out on the water. To be effective in our engagement efforts, we have produced a set of six recreational engagement plans highlighting actions that NOAA Fisheries will take to work with and connect to the recreational fishing communities we serve.

In 2017, NOAA Fisheries held nine public roundtable meetings with recreational fishermen across the country as part of an ongoing dialogue. The findings from these conversations provided the basis for discussions with fishermen at the 2018 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit. Major topics—from alternative management to conservation—were covered at the Summit, and participants made it clear that anglers want more engagement and two-way dialogue with NOAA Fisheries.

In order to reflect the breadth and diversity of American recreational fisheries, these engagement plans were developed by our regional offices and employ a variety of methods for connecting with the fishing public. There are broad-scale activities, such as improvements to online resources that can reach thousands of anglers at a time, as well as smaller-scale activities like best practices workshops and youth outreach events where anglers and NOAA personnel will be able to meet face to face.


Engagement Objectives

While the particular actions described in each region’s plan are tailored to the needs of the fisheries they host, all engagement actions are designed to support one or more of the following three objectives:

  • Establish a visible presence among the recreational fishing community. 
  • Develop a mutual understanding of priorities, concerns, and challenges. 
  • Enhance collaboration with the recreational fishing community.

The release of these regional engagement plans represents the latest step in NOAA Fisheries’ continued commitment to strengthening our relationship with saltwater recreational fishermen. They are a key step toward implementing the recently-signed Memorandum of Agreement between NOAA Fisheries and four recreational fishing organizations (the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the American Sportfishing Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation) to promote sustainable recreational fishing and boating. As these engagement plans are put into action in the coming months, we look forward to strengthening existing partnerships like these, and to cultivating new ones.

National RecFish Engagement Highlight Fact Sheet (PDF, 5 pages)


Regional Engagement Plans


Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on June 10, 2019