Fisheries Management and the Marine Recreational Information Program

Catch Limits

Fisheries management decisions, like size and catch limits and the length of open seasons, are based on a continuous cycle of collecting data, assessing fishery health, setting catch targets, and making effective regulations to prevent fisheries from exceeding those targets. Our goal is to ensure fisheries remain productive now and for generations to come.

Economic Assessments

Along with collecting data on fishing catch and effort, a very important aspect of the recreational fishing sector is determining its economic impacts. The NOAA Fisheries Economics Program evaluates the benefits and costs of alternative management actions, prioritizes management needs, and facilitates policy design that sustainably maximizes societal benefits from ocean and coastal resources.


Fisheries managers establish fishing regulations to adhere to scientifically established catch limits. States, fishery management councils, and interstate marine fisheries commissions work with NOAA Fisheries, recreational fishermen, and other stakeholders to set regulations.

Federal and state fishing regulations may vary; therefore, you should always check before going fishing to ensure you follow all necessary regulations to keep our fish populations healthy and sustainable.

Stock Assessments

Stock assessments tell us about the health of a fish population. Scientists conduct regular assessments to examine how fishing and other factors affect the past and current status of a fish stock, answer questions about the size of a fish stock, and make predictions about how a fish stock will respond to current and future management measures. Stock assessments support sustainable fisheries by providing fisheries managers and scientists with the information necessary to make sound decisions on catch limits and other fishing regulations.

To learn more about stock assessments, watch The ABCs of Stock Assessments and learn more on the NOAA Fisheries Stock Assessments website.

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