States Receive $3 Million to Improve Recreational Fisheries Data Collection

June 04, 2020

The Marine Recreational Information Program’s Modern Fish Act investment funds will support regional data collection priorities and the implementation of specialized state surveys.

Two anglers fish in Tampa Bay.

Image: Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

States along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts have received an additional $3 million for recreational fisheries data collection. The funding is part of a NOAA Fisheries plan to provide the state support described in the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018.

Also known as the Modern Fish Act, the legislation calls on NOAA Fisheries to improve recreational fisheries data collection through state-federal partnerships. The agency’s Marine Recreational Information Program develops, improves, and implements a network of recreational fishing surveys to estimate total recreational catch, and maintains such partnerships through Regional Implementation Teams. These investment funds will support the highest priorities these teams have documented. They will also advance state specialized survey programs that allow recreational anglers to submit information through electronic technologies.

Funds have been allocated to states through existing agreements with regional fisheries information networks. These networks function as Regional Implementation Teams in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico.

The Marine Recreational Information Program and its Regional Implementation Teams will work together to determine how to distribute the funds among the state sampling programs. While recreational fisheries data collection has been impacted by COVID-19—with several states suspending or modifying their shoreside and at-sea sampling programs in accordance with local social distancing guidelines—we anticipate these funds will be applied once in-person data collection has fully resumed.