National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan
The National Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan is a comprehensive roadmap outlining NOAA Fisheries' ambitious projects and plans for the next 3 years.
At NOAA Fisheries, we recognize the vital role recreational fisheries play in our nation's cultural heritage, economy, and ecological balance. The National Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan is built around the policy goals and guiding principles identified in NOAA’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy. The plan is a comprehensive roadmap outlining NOAA Fisheries' ambitious projects and plans for the next 3 years, all aimed at enhancing the recreational fishing experience while ensuring the sustainability of our marine resources. As such, our plan is founded on collaborative efforts and innovation to foster a thriving recreational fishing environment that can be experienced by generations to come.
Through these strategic initiatives, we are committed to strengthening fishing opportunities, promoting conservation practices, and securing a sustainable future for both anglers and the marine ecosystem. We look forward to embarking on this transformative journey together to elevate the recreational fishing landscape and safeguard the rich marine biodiversity that makes our nation truly unique.
Support, Maintain, and Recover Sustainable Saltwater Recreational and Non-Commercial Fisheries Resources, Including Protected Species, and Healthy Marine and Estuarine Habitats
Restore and Conserve Habitats Important for Popular Recreational Species
Distribute Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support recreational fisheries through habitat restoration, including improvements to fish passage. We will also continue to partner with anglers through the National Fish Habitat Partnership to restore and conserve key habitats, including those in underserved communities. These actions support guiding principles 1, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include the publication of federal funding opportunities and the distribution of funds for selected projects.
Evaluate Efficacy of Restoration Techniques in Recreationally Important Habitats
Support multi-year post-restoration fisheries monitoring and evaluation of habitat projects in partnership with state and local partners. This work supports guiding principles 1 and 3. Metrics of success include continued project monitoring and the evaluation of a project's efficacy and benefits.
Address Discards, Bycatch, and Associated Mortality in Recreational Fisheries
Promote and support the use of conservation equipment and best practices to reduce recreationally induced mortality, in addition to supporting the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. These actions support guiding principles 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Metrics of success include distribution of conservation equipment and educational materials as well as solicitation of appropriate projects via the program.
Improve Understanding of Angler Interactions with Protected Species
Identify and characterize incidental take hot spots and co-factors that contribute to angler interactions with protected species. This work supports guiding principles 1, 2, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include the development and execution of studies and the publication of study results.
Marine Mammal Deterrence in Recreational Fisheries
Finalize and promote effective implementation of proposed marine mammal deterrence guidelines through constituent engagement and education. This action supports guiding principles 1, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include publishing of marine mammal deterrence guidelines in the Federal Register, conducting public engagement activities (workshops, webinars, etc), and the distribution of educational materials.
Further Collaborations with the Recreational Fishing Community to Improve Whale and Vessel Safety
As part of a North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Technology Workshop, actively engage with the recreational community and others. This action supports guiding principles 1, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include execution of the workshop and a workshop report.
Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Saltwater Recreational and Non-Commercial Fishing for the Social, Cultural, and Economic Benefit of the Nation
Leverage Federal Agency Partnerships to Promote Sustainable and Inclusive Outdoor Recreation
Advance goals of the Recreational Fisheries Policy within and through federal interagency councils, advisory committees, and working groups to promote sustainable fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities. This work supports guiding principles 1, 2, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include participation in and support of activities from the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.
Increase Accessibility of NOAA's Products and Services that Support and Promote Sustainable Recreational Fisheries
Inventory and catalog NOAA products and services that support and promote sustainable recreational fisheries. This work supports guiding principles 1 through 6. Metrics of success include a public-facing listing of NOAA resources available to the recreational angler and boating public.
Expand Eligibility for Fishery Disaster Determinations to Recreational Fisheries
Develop and implement a revised fishery disaster policy pursuant to the Fishery Resource Disaster Improvement Act. This action supports guiding principles 1, 2, and 4. Metrics of success include the adoption of an updated fishery disaster policy (CY2023).
Develop a Recreational For-Hire Business Size Standard
Establish a NOAA Fisheries specific size standard for the for-hire fishing industry businesses that would better meet the Regulatory Flexibility Act’s intent by more accurately discerning disproportionate effects of Fisheries’ rules between small and large businesses, and allow us to determine when changes to the standard are necessary and appropriate based on changes to that distribution. This project supports guiding principles 2, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include the publication of proposed regulatory changes (CY 2024).
National Fishing and Boating Week
Promote sustainable recreational fishing through celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week in June of each year. The action supports guiding principles 1 through 6. Metrics of success include the annual planning and hosting of National Fishing and Boating Week activities.
Partner With Private Sector Entities to Promote Sustainable Recreational Fishing Activities
Share messaging and cross-promote sustainable recreational fishing with private sector partners. The action supports guiding principles 1, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include the sharing of information across multiple partnerships and platforms.
Augment and Maintain NOAA Fisheries’ On-the-Ground Understanding of Angler Priorities
Host and/or participate in regional angler-led discussions in all NOAA Fisheries geographic regions. This activity supports guiding principles 1, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include the number and location of angler-led discussions.
Cross-NOAA Coordination and Collaboration on Recreational Fishing
Partner with the National Ocean Service’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and other NOAA Line Offices to promote and support sustainable recreational fishing activities. Anticipated work includes:
- Supporting balanced representation on sanctuary advisory councils and the Business Advisory Council, including for recreational fishing
- Collaborating to support and participate in recreational fishing clinics for families
- Providing conservation education to anglers fishing within national marine sanctuaries
- Developing and distributing external engagement products highlighting sustainable recreational fishing
These actions support guiding principles 1, 2, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include the number of products and activities developed.
Evaluate Opportunities for Collaboration Between the Recreational Fishing and Aquaculture Communities on Increasing Water Access
Encourage constructive dialogue between aquaculture interests and anglers to identify mutual beneficial actions to minimize conflict and maintain water access. This work supports guiding principles 2, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include identification of and encouraging opportunities for dialogue.
Enable Enduring Participation In, and Enjoyment Of, Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Through Science-Based Conservation and Management
Continue to Assess and Refine the Recreational Fishing Effort Survey
Undertake a study over the course of 2024 to understand the differences in effort estimates between the current Fishing Effort Survey design and a revised design that changes both the question order and increases the frequency of sampling. This work supports guiding principles 3, 4, 5, and 6. Metrics of success include execution of the study and a plan to apply its findings, as appropriate, to refine the survey.
Enhance and Improve Recreational Fisheries Data Through the Marine Recreational Information Program
Improve quality, timeliness, and availability of recreational fisheries data available to scientists and managers through collaboration with state and federal partners and other actions. Relevant actions suitable as metrics can be found in the MRIP Implementation Plan and regional implementation plans. Examples of key programmatic metrics include:
- Develop a collaborative research plan with the Gulf states and the Gulf States Commission to improve accuracy and interoperability of federal and state recreational fishing statistical programs
- Implement a new angler intercept survey design in Hawaii
- Complete a redesign of the Large Pelagics Survey to improve the quality of large pelagics/Highly Migratory Species catch and effort estimates
- Conduct and facilitate peer reviews/making certification decisions on surveys by state and regional partners
- Develop guidance for handling highly imprecise recreational catch and effort estimates in stock assessments
- Investigate data timeliness improvements by testing 1-month wave reporting
These actions support guiding principles 1, 4, and 5.
Cooperative Recreational For-Hire Study Fleet Support
Expand data collection, strengthen relationships, and utilize the expertise of professional for-hire participants to improve fishery science and management. This work supports guiding principles 4, 5, and 6. Metrics of success include developing a pilot for-hire study fleet and/or support ongoing cooperative research with the for-hire community.
Advance the Findings of the 2023 Recreational Economic Workshop
Publish results of the NOAA-sponsored April 2023 constituent recreational economic workshop as a NOAA technical memorandum and actively engage constituents to advance workshop findings, such as more timely collection of data and improving information flow, among others. This work supports guiding principles 2, 3, 5, and 6. Metrics of success include publication of the technical memorandum and development of a plan to prioritize and advance workshop findings.
Ecosystem Reference Points
Develop state-of-the-art ecosystem-level reference point guidance for fishery management councils. This work supports guiding principles 3 and 5. Metrics of success include finalization and distribution of guidance to fishery management councils (CY2023).
Bolster Understanding of Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rules
Publish a technical memo summarizing acceptable biological catch control rules and risk policies used by councils to improve understanding of these management tools. This action supports guiding principles 3, 4, 5, and 6. Metrics of success include the publication of a technical memo (2024).
Improve Dialogue and Partnership with Marine Fisheries Commissions
Establish annual leadership-level meetings with individual interstate marine fisheries commissions to facilitate improved understanding and partnership with NOAA, including for recreational fisheries issues. This activity supports guiding principle 3. Metrics of success include the planning and execution of annual discussions on an ongoing basis.
Advance Understanding of Depredation, Efficiency Gains, and Changes in Effort in Recreational Fisheries
Explore and address, as appropriate, depredation events, efficiency gains, and increasing effort in recreational fisheries. The action supports guiding principles 1, 4, and 6. Metrics of success include the undertaking and/or support of scientific studies, workshops, and other avenues for learning and dialogue.
Identify and Share Non-Us Recreational Fisheries Science and Management Best Practices
Engage fishery scientists, managers, anglers, and experts of other nations to learn about best practices, as well as advances in science and management employed outside the United States for domestic consideration. This activity supports guiding principles 3, 4, and 5. Metrics of success include the participation in and/or sponsorship of international recreational fisheries discussions and workshops, as well as the documentation and sharing of international approaches.
Reduce Conflicts With and Heighten Benefits from Offshore Development by Improving Availability of Recreational Fisheries Data for Planning
Work with the National Ocean Service and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to improve the availability of recreational fisheries fishing data in the development of OceanReports and Aquaculture Opportunity Area Atlases. The action supports guiding principle 5. Metrics of success include the participation in and/or sponsorship of international recreational fisheries discussions and workshops, as well as the documentation and sharing of international approaches.
Encourage New Insights from Recreational and Non-Commercial Fishing Communities on the Development of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas
Heighten engagement and information sharing with the recreational fishing community regarding planning and development of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas. The activity supports guiding principle 6. Metrics of success include the number and type of engagements during the AOA development process.
Align Recreational Fisheries Science and Management Priorities with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
Identify shared recreational fisheries science and management priorities among East Coast fisheries and research partners to advance common objectives and the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy. This activity supports all of the guiding principles. Metrics of success include hosting discussions to align priorities, as well as identification and sharing of shared priorities.
Advance Climate-Ready Policies and Programs to Understand and Respond to Climate-Driven Changes and Impacts On Fishery Resources and the Ecosystem
Advance Climate Modeling and Decision Support Through the NOAA Climate, Ecosystems, and Fisheries Initiative
Provide decision-makers, including fishery managers, with additional information and capacity needed to better assess risks and take action to safeguard marine resources and resource users. The action supports guiding principles 1, 3, 4, and 5. Metrics of success include the implementation status of the Initiative's Integrated Modeling and Decision Support System.
Climate Scenario Planning
Improve ability to plan for and respond to climate change affecting recreational and other fisheries by finalizing East Coast Climate Scenario Planning Process and supporting follow-on initiatives. The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, and 4. Metrics of success include the issuance of the final report to the Northeast Regional Coordinating Council (CY2023).
Publish and Initiate NOAA Fisheries Regional Climate Science Action Plans
Improve ability to track changing marine ecosystem conditions, assess risks, and provide long-term projections under changing climate and ocean conditions. The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, and 4. Metrics of success include the publication and implementation of regional climate science action plans.
Address Council Governance in the Face of Climate Change Impacts
Develop guidance and processes for addressing multiple aspects of council governance affected by climate change, such as shifting stocks. The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, and 4. Metrics of success include the publication of formal guidance, as warranted (FY2024).
Improve Understanding of How Fish Respond to Changing Ocean Conditions
Utilize technology to monitor habitat quality and use and fish movement in real time to understand the impact of climate-driven changes to the marine environment. The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, 3, and 4. Metrics of success include deployment of new vertical profiler buoys in the Chesapeake Bay to provide inaugural real-time measurements of temperature, salinity, and hypoxia to assess fish habitat condition and monitor the movements of recreationally important species (e.g., striped bass) to understand habitat use and movements via newly installed tag-receiver gates in the Chesapeake Bay.
Bolster Climate Resilience in the Middle Peninsula Habitat Focus Area
Distribute Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support recreational fisheries through habitat restoration, including improvements to fish passage. This work supports guiding principles 1, 3, and 4. Metrics of success include installation of living shoreline and oyster reef restoration in Mobjack Bay, the Mattaponi Indian Reservation, and the York River that will support recreational anglers in the Middle Peninsula Habitat Focus Area.
Pursue and Support Equitable Treatment and Meaningful Involvement of Underserved and Underrepresented Communities in Recreational and Non-Commercial Fisheries and Stewardship
Translate Fisheries Engagement and Outreach Materials
Expand engagement with and understanding of recreational fisheries regulations by non-English-speaking anglers. The action supports guiding principles 2 and 6. Metrics of success include the creation and publication of non-English engagement and outreach products.
Fishery Management Council Balance
Seek fair and balanced apportionment of fishery participants on regional fishery management councils, including consideration of historically underrepresented and underserved populations, on a continuing basis. The action supports guiding principles 2, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include continual assessment of council composition and demographics over time.
Seek Enhanced Engagement of Underrepresented Communities in Coastal Recreational Fishing and Habitat Conservation Programs
Implement a proof-of-concept program integrating recreational fishing education into regional habitat restoration programs that work with underrepresented fishing communities. The action supports guiding principles 2, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include the completion of the pilot program (FY2024).
Evaluate and Update National Standards 4 (Allocation), 8 (Communities), and 9 (Bycatch)
Scope, evaluate, and address identified issues, as warranted, pertaining to national standards 4, 8, and 9. The action supports guiding principles 1, 4, and 5. Metrics of success include publishing an Announcement of Potential Rule Making for National Standard Guidelines 4/8/9 in the Federal Register and publishing a proposed rule to address identified issues, as warranted.
Promote Inclusivity and Diversity in Sustainable Recreational Fisheries
Partner with federal, state, and private sector entities as possible to support and promote inclusive, diverse, and sustainable recreational fisheries. The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, 3, and 6. Metrics of success include developed partnerships and those supported activities.
Marine Resource Education Program
Enhance participation and understanding of federal fisheries science and management by supporting and coordinating NOAA participation in the Marine Resource Education Program and seeking diversity in its participants. The action supports guiding principles 1 through 6. Metrics of success include the execution of program work plans and public participation numbers.
Equitable Distribution of Fisheries Management Benefits
Contract with the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Management to examine and provide recommendations regarding how to best assess the distribution of federal fisheries management benefits (phase 1) and how to address identified inequities in for-hire and commercial fisheries (phase 2). The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, 3, and 5. Metrics of success include the release of the Phase 1 report (CY2024) and the Phase 2 report (CY2025).
Improve Identification of Priorities of Underrepresented Coastal Fishers and Estimates of Natural Resource Losses
Test new methods and develop decision guidance and materials, as appropriate, that support deliberate consideration of potentially underrepresented coastal fishermen in the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. The action supports guiding principles 1, 2, and 3. Metrics of success include the development, testing, and evaluation of new methods.
Engage Underserved Communities in Addressing Invasive Species
Establish a blue catfish removal bounty pilot program in the greater Baltimore area aimed at removing an invasive species that threatens fish and shellfish such as herring, eel, shad, blue crab, and striped bass while providing opportunities for local residents to interact and learn about fish and habitat issues and participate in meeting conservation challenges. This work supports guiding principles 1 and 6. Metrics of success include establishing a programmatic framework and number of fish removed.