WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, NOAA Fisheries released the implementation plan to support the latest National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Policy. The policy, announced at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show in February, was developed with input from recreational fishing and boating communities, conservation organizations and managers across the nation. It incorporates a number of concerns voiced by the boating and fishing communities including public access, resource stewardship, regulatory education, science innovation and better lines of communication between state and federal rule makers with the community.
The implementation plan itself provides details on how NOAA Fisheries will focus its efforts over a four-year period of time to support the new recreational fishing policy and deliver quality science, service and stewardship to the recreational community.
Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation says, “The policy was a good roadmap but this implementation plan sets the agency on a really good path. There are several major commitments in the plan but I am most impressed with two: the agency’s commitments to engage the regional fishery management councils to review harvest allocations on a regular basis and initiate a National Research Council review of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP).”
“This implementation plan is where the rubber meets the road for NOAA’s National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy,” said Mike Leonard, ocean resource policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “The recreational fishing community can now see the specific steps the agency plans to take to meet the laudatory goals described in the policy and can hold the agency accountable to follow through. If NOAA Fisheries achieves all of these actions, which include nearly all of the recommendations of the Morris-Deal Report, saltwater recreational fishing in the U.S. will be in a much better place.”
“NOAA Fisheries Administrator Eileen Sobeck and her team have truly earned a round of applause,” said the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Legislative Counsel Jeff Gabriel. “It’s one thing to make a commitment to draft a saltwater recreational fishing policy within NOAA Fisheries and to then craft a solid implementation document, but to do so in Administrator Sobeck’s first year is a feat particularly given NOAA Fisheries history of neglect of the recreational fishing community. This is a definite boost in morale that our troops have needed to keep fighting the good fight. Even though future battles undoubtedly lay before us, we can take some small comfort that we are making progress and our collective efforts are beginning to pay off.”