NOAA recently released a series of regional saltwater recreational fishing action plans for the nation’s six coastal regions and for the angling community that fishes for tunas and other highly migratory species. The plans are based on goals and objectives identified by participants at the 2010 Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit.
In 2010, saltwater recreational fishing contributed $50 billion in sales to the U.S. economy and supported 326,000 jobs in fishing and across the broader economy. Roughly 11 million saltwater anglers took approximately 73 million fishing trips in 2010.
Examples of regional projects include:
- Hawaii and the Pacific Islands: A project to increase the number of fish available in the future by improving the survival of fish caught and released by anglers
- Alaska: A project to identify and restore important fish spawning habitat by opening up fish passages on rivers and streams and removing marine debris.
- Northwest: A project to develop and evaluate a new, more flexible management approach for Chinook salmon that may allow for increased recreational fishing.
- Southwest: Multiple cooperative scientific research projects with anglers to improve survival of fish caught and released by anglers and improve information on recreational catch and effort.
- Northeast: A project to work with the regional fishery management councils to ensure that Atlantic herring, mackerel, squid and butterfish populations are maintained at healthy levels. This project would also focus on reducing the unintended catch of forage fish such as river herring, which are important food for striped bass and other fish prized by saltwater anglers.
- Southeast: A project to investigate more flexible management strategies to provide greater fishing opportunities to the charter boats and other recreational “for-hire” boats.
According to NOAA, the regional action agendas include projects to address the five national recreational fishing action goals which are:
- Improving recreational fishing opportunities
- Improving recreational catch, effort and stock status data
- Improving social and economic data on recreational fisheries
- Improving communications
- Improving institutional orientation to promote greater understanding of saltwater angling issues.
The new action agendas include ongoing projects or projects expected to be completed in the next 12 to 24 months. To read the regional saltwater angler action agendas go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/12/recfish.html or http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sportfish/.