NOAA Recreational Fisheries Year In Review
Recreational Fishing Update - October 2020.
Recreational Fisheries Highlights
Americans have a passion for saltwater fishing. Each year, millions of saltwater anglers contribute tens of billions of dollars to the American economy while supporting nearly 500,000 jobs. NOAA Fisheries works with fishermen, states, and many other partners to safeguard and promote public access to healthy and sustainable saltwater fish stocks.
Highlights from FY2020 (October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2020)
Despite the challenges of 2020, NOAA Fisheries completed many exciting projects that benefit and support recreational fisheries. Highlighted below are a few examples of our FY2020 actions and accomplishments. Additional information can be found by following the embedded links.
Recreational Fisheries Initiative
Demonstrating the power of public-private partnerships to promote sustainable recreational fishing, NOAA’s Recreational Fisheries Initiative partnered with Bonnier Corporation to successfully host a nationwide photo contest capturing amazing photos by enthusiastic anglers across the country.
NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Regional Office and the North Pacific Council worked together to rapidly relax management measures for the guided Alaskan halibut fishery, as approved by the International Halibut Commission. This swift action was taken to provide relief for the guided Alaskan halibut fishery from the effects of COVID-19.
Greater Atlantic Region
Greater Atlantic staff hosted a series of public workshops to develop management approaches for the recreational groundfish fishery to better achieve conservation mandates, enable profitability for for-hire businesses, and provide worthwhile fishing opportunities for anglers. Workshop outcomes were then delivered to the New England Fishery Management Council. The Greater Atlantic staff also teamed up with local captains to develop a short informative video explaining what anglers need to know before they go fishing.
NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office provided an extraordinary federal funding opportunity for non-commercial and recreational fisheries in the Central and Western Pacific. The funding opportunity supported four unique projects to improve sustainable fishing opportunities, maintain stability of fish stocks, and protect cultural fishing traditions.
NOAA Fisheries Southeast Region and Science Center supported the Marine Resources Educational Program Fisheries Management workshop in St. Petersburg, Florida by providing expert speakers, planning and fiscal assistance. This successful program, hosted by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, empowers recreational and commercial fishermen by giving them a better understanding of how, when, and where to engage effectively in fisheries science and management.
Office of Habitat Conservation
NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation teamed-up once again with the Recreational Fisheries Initiative in FY2020 to support four new on-the-ground habitat restoration projects led by anglers in southeast Alaska, Washington, California, and Virginia.
Office of Science and Technology
NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology worked with science center experts to publish The Economic Contribution of Marine Angler Expenditures on Fishing Trips in the United States, 2017. This new technical memorandum, published in March 2020, provides an updated look at the substantial economic contributions stemming from saltwater fishing trips.
Modern Fish Act
The Modern Fish Act seeks to expand recreational fishing opportunities through enhanced marine fishery conservation and management. To achieve this goal, it requires a number of reports to Congress and authorizes use of specific management techniques in recreational and mixed-use fisheries.
A Government Accounting Office report on allocation of fishing privileges in mixed-use fisheries and a NOAA Fisheries report on Council actions related to Modern Fish Act authorized management techniques have been submitted to congress. The National Academies of Sciences is on-track to deliver studies on Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use fisheries and NOAA’s Marine Recreational Information Program application to in-season management.
Following the Magnuson-Stevens Act doctrine of regionally-based fisheries management and decision-making, NOAA Fisheries is actively engaging and supporting fishery management councils interested in investigating use of the specific management techniques authorized in the Act. NOAA Fisheries has hosted and participated in focused discussions and working groups with the Councils and will continue to support Councils’ exploration of flexible management approaches.
The Modern Fish Act allows, but does not mandate, creation of a grant program to improve state-based data collection. Consistent with FY20 appropriations act language, NOAA Fisheries provided $3 million dollars in June 2020 to state and commission partners to support state-based improvements.
What We're Looking Forward to in 2021
In 2021, NOAA’s Recreational Fisheries Initiative will continue strengthening partnerships with the recreational fishing community on critical conservation issues such as habitat conservation and release mortality. We will expand and refine our use of video and other electronic means of communication to modernize our outreach and overcome challenges posed by COVID-19. We will engage on emerging issues, such as aquaculture, wind power, and others yet to be identified. Above all, we will work to ensure that the perspectives of anglers are understood and their voices are heard.