New England Regional Recreational Fisheries Roundtable Summary

April 5, 2017
Rye, New Hampshire

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 Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, on April 5, 2017, to discuss the state of New England saltwater recreational fisheries. The majority of the attendees at the meeting were for-hire vessel owners/operators and recreational fishing business owners. The meeting focused on concerns with fisheries science and management programs for New England recreational fisheries. A table was developed during the discussion that enumerated specific issues, illustrated end goals, as well as the hurdles or roadblocks associated with achieving those end goals. Highlights from that table are included below.

As shown in the word cloud derived from NOAA Fisheries staff notes, recreational data collection through the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) and the impact those data have on fisheries management programs were the focus of the majority of the discussion. Economic impacts to the for-hire industry and the different needs of the recreational sectors were also articulated by many. 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.

Word cloud from New England recreational roundtable

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

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Action Plan (Highlights)

NOAA Fisheries Action Item

Description of Issue/Concern


Investigate multi-year specifications processes. Frequency of regulatory changes and lack of stability in regulations complicate for-hire business operations and makes it difficult to book business in advance. Summer 2018
Investigate differences in values and perceptions of individual recreational anglers vs. for-hire operators (workshop and/or survey). Within the recreational community, sectors may have different needs or value management measures differently (i.e., longer season vs. a higher bag limit). Understanding those needs and differences could help improve satisfaction and buy-in to fisheries management. Summer/Fall 2018
Convene a workshop to consider alternative management approaches for recreational fisheries that are less dependent on single-year MRIP estimates. Recreational and commercial fisheries are both held accountable against hard catch limits; however, the ability to accurately track catches and the timeliness with which catch estimates are produced varies. Summer/Fall 2017
Explore mechanisms and support events that educate the general public on emerging fishing opportunities and the importance of targeting more than one species of fish. Recognizing that motivations and perceptions of what makes a “good day” fishing are different for everyone, the for-hire fleet struggles to advertise for newer species because there is a preference for cod trips by the fishing public. Summer 2017 into Winter 2018
Consider reconstituting a regional recreational advisory group and become more involved in the New England Council’s Recreational Advisory Panel process. It is difficult to get a large group of recreational fishing participants and representatives together and there are concerns that their voice is not being heard by the people making the decisions. Fall 2018/ongoing with RAP meetings
Support education programs for recreational anglers. To paraphrase a participant: “There is no middle class in fisheries management. There are those who know the process [and can influence it] and those who don’t; no in between.” Summer 2017 (Develop plan); Winter 2018 (MREP)
Explore avenues to increase sample size in MRIP; Explore complementary for-hire reported data for management of that sector, including participation trends. Surveys with low sample sizes are less certain than surveys with larger sample sizes; private anglers need to be encouraged to participate in fisheries surveys. The for-hire fleet submits a lot of information and would like to know how it is being used to improve fisheries management. Fall 2018 (develop plan)
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Regional Recreational Fisheries Contacts

Moira Kelly

Dr. Earl Meredith

National Recreational Fisheries Contacts

Russell Dunn

Tim Sartwell


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