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National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Program

NOAA Fisheries is committed to supporting and collaborating with the recreational fishing community.


Saltwater recreational fishing is an American pastime, conservation contributor, and important economic driver nationwide. Millions of Americans access the great outdoors through recreational fishing each year, strengthening families, friendships, and communities. Saltwater anglers contribute almost $74 billion in sales impacts and $41 billion in gross domestic product each year to the national economy. Marine recreational fisheries are crucial for introducing and connecting the next generation to the natural world while simultaneously presenting complex stewardship challenges, including balancing ecosystem conservation with social and economic benefits for the nation.

We recognize the importance of the recreational fishing community and its benefits to coastal economies and are committed to actively engaging with and responding to its interests at both the national and regional levels.

National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy and Engagement Plans

The National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy guides agency planning, activities, and decision-making. Subsequent national and regional implementation plans identify goals, guiding principles, and actions in support of the development and maintenance of enduring and sustainable high quality saltwater recreational fisheries. Together these documents guide the course for our recreational fisheries work.

Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy

Recreational Engagement Plans

Recreational Fishing Videos

Check out these short videos focusing on recreational fishing across the country.

Watch recreational fishing videos

two women each holding a lingcod
Anglers holding lingcod. Credit: T. Mautner

NOAA Recreational Fisheries Year In Review

Despite the challenges of 2021, NOAA Fisheries completed many exciting projects that benefit and support recreational fisheries across the country. Highlighted in the link are a few examples of our 2021 fiscal year actions and accomplishments. 

Learn more about our recent activities

Regional Recreational Fishing Snapshots

We are pleased to present a series of concise saltwater recreational fisheries fact sheets that highlight recent regional trends, economic impacts, fishing opportunities, and issues of interest from around the country.

Regional Recreational Snapshots

Wahoo caught while recreational fishing. Credit: Marshall Ballard
Wahoo caught while recreational fishing. Credit: Marshall Ballard

NOAA's Favorite Catch Photo Contest

NOAA Fisheries and Bonnier Corporation launched #NOAAsFavoriteCatch, a new photo contest to showcase the passion American anglers have for saltwater recreational fishing. We received more than 1,200 submissions from all across the country that captured family, friends, and solo anglers fishing from shore and vessels of every size.  From lingcod, salmon, and halibut to marlin, mahi and roosterfish, anglers photographed the moments that meant the most to them.

Check out the winner of the 2020 photo contest

National Meetings

NOAA Fisheries’ Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Initiative works to strengthen and maintain our partnership with the saltwater recreational community through action. Learn more about national meetings on recreational fisheries topics.

2022 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit

The 2022 National Recreational Fisheries Summit explored key issues facing the recreational fishing community including climate change, ocean uses, recreational data and management across two days in March of 2022.

Learn more about the 2022 Summit

2022 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit Report

2018 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit

In March, NOAA Fisheries and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission co-hosted the 2018 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit to improve opportunity and stability in recreational fisheries.

Learn more about the 2018 Summit

Regional Roundtable Meetings

The 2016-2017 roundtable meetings looked to build on past progress by creating new and strengthening existing relationships; identifying mutual interests; highlighting regional concerns and priorities; identifying regionally shared issues; and providing us with clarifications and insights to inform regional and national agency planning.

Learn more about the Regional Roundtable meetings 

National Artificial Reef Workshop

In June 2016, in coordination with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, we convened a National Artificial Reef Workshop. The workshop highlighted important factors to consider in understanding the potential role of artificial reefs to support and/or enhance sustainable fisheries in regions across the nation.

Learn more about the 2016 National Artificial Reef Workshop

Recreational Fishing

Saltwater recreational fishing is an integral part of American coastal life and communities.


Last updated by Office of Communications on June 30, 2023