Mid-Atlantic Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtable Summary

A summary of the mid-Atlantic roundtable held April 3, 2017 in Howell, New Jersey.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to:

  • Sustainable saltwater recreational fisheries resources.

  • Promoting saltwater recreational fisheries for the benefit of the nation.

  • Enabling enduring participation through science-based conservation and management.

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Meeting Summary

Regional Administrator John Bullard, National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries Russ Dunn, and other NOAA Fisheries staff met with about 15 members of the recreational fisheries community at the Manasquan Reservoir Visitor Center in Howell, New Jersey, on April 3, 2017, to discuss the state of mid-Atlantic saltwater recreational fisheries. The majority of meeting participants were private anglers, but several for-hire operators also participated. The meeting focused heavily on concerns with recreational fisheries management and data collection programs for mid-Atlantic recreational fisheries. A table was developed following the discussion that enumerated specific issues, illustrated end goals, as well as the hurdles or roadblocks associated with achieving a given goal. Highlights from that table are included below. 

Recreational data collection through the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) and the impact those data have on the management programs and fishing communities dominated the discussion. As a result of this meeting, NOAA Fisheries is committing to achieving the action items below, in collaboration with our recreational fisheries partners, including the for-hire industry and private recreational community. Additional ideas will be incorporated into the 2018-2019 Regional Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan.

Questions or comments about the meeting or the action plan below should be directed to GARFO Recreational Fisheries Coordinator Moira Kelly [Moira.Kelly@noaa.gov; (978) 281-9218] and NEFSC Recreational Fisheries Coordinator Dr. Earl Meredith [Earl.Meredith@noaa.gov; (978) 281-9276].

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Action Plan (Highlights)

NOAA Fisheries Action Item

Description of Issue/Concern


Explore additional fishing effort statistics (boat and angler registrations, tackle shop sales) for example) and their relationship with MRIP information. There is substantial distrust of MRIP fishing effort estimates and NOAA Fisheries should explore use of complementary data sources for ground-truthing or substituting effort estimates from surveys. Fall 2017
Investigate multi-year specifications process. Regulatory instability is a major issue, particularly for the for-hire fleet, who need more out-year regulatory information for advertising and customer retention. Summer 2017-Spring 2018
Find additional opportunities for NOAA Fisheries and recreational community dialogue, particularly on the data collection process. Many in the recreational community feel that their voices are not heard in the management process, and/or they are unsure how to participate in the management process. Summer 2018 (planning)
Examine MRIP effort estimates around areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Distrust of MRIP is compounded by what many perceive as unrealistic catch and effort estimates during the aftermath of the Superstorm in 2012; and trust in MRIP data has not been recovered. Fall 2017
Explore increasing the opportunities for the public to review MRIP data, including specific intercept data, before council/commission decision making-process. MRIP has a significant impact on recreational opportunities and for-hire business operations. As such, many feel that recreational participants should be incorporated into the data review process and that NOAA Fisheries and the council/commission timelines need to be better aligned. Summer 2017 (planning)
Investigate large year class signals to more quickly identify upcoming trends. Black sea bass biomass increases seem to be cyclical; NOAA Fisheries and the council should examine how to better and more quickly identify “biomass boom” years to allow recreational catch limits to keep pace with the stock. Fall 2017 (planning)
Develop a “Roadmap to Yes” for alternative management strategies for recreational fisheries. Many feel that NOAA Fisheries' only response to new ideas is “No” and a list of reasons why it wouldn’t be possible. NOAA Fisheries needs to figure out how to facilitate the development and consideration of innovative management strategies. Summer - Fall 2017 (planning)
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Regional Recreational Fisheries Contacts

Moira Kelly
(978) 281-9218

Dr. Earl Meredith
(978) 281-9276

National Recreational Fisheries Contacts

Russell Dunn
(727) 551-5740

Tim Sartwell
(301) 427-8535


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