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Why You Should Care About a New Saltwater Fisheries Report

A report on America’s saltwater fisheries shares recommendations from key stakeholders.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) recently announced that the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management produced a new report that hopes to revise and improve the management of marine resource conservation while capitalizing on saltwater fishing’s economic and social benefits.

The committee is chaired by Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris and Scott Deal, President of Maverick Boats. Biologists, economists, conservationists, fisheries managers and policy makers rounded out the rest of the stakeholders on the committee.

The report, known as A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries, takes a close look at various issues affecting marine waters and the game fish that live within them. It’s meant to influence federal policy and decision makers; Congress will be specifically targeted, as they debate the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the legislation that governs saltwater fisheries in America.

“For many reasons, I’m deeply committed to protecting and enhancing our nation’s fisheries to ensure a bright future for the great American tradition of fishing. It’s not only vitally important to our economy, it’s also very important to our society and for getting kids connected to the outdoors and understanding the need for conservation,” said Morris in the official release. “Sharing our outdoor heritage with our children and grandchildren means we must work hard now to improve saltwater recreational fisheries management.”

The findings and recommendations were unveiled at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show, where ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman spoke to attendees about the impact recreational fishing has on the saltwater surrounding America.

A portion of his presentation was uploaded to the ASA’s YouTube channel:

That’s some pretty impactful information. Thankfully, the committee that worked on the report was well qualified to serve as the microphone through which the entire nation of saltwater anglers can be heard.

“It’s an honor to participate in the commission’s work and in the development of this landmark document,” said Deal in the release. “This is the first time the recreational fishing community and the fishing and boating industries have clearly set forth what we believe the majority of the nation’s recreational anglers want regarding our saltwater fisheries laws, management policies and regulations.”

The recommendations from the report include:

  • Establishing a national policy for recreational fishing
  • Adopting a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management
  • Allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation
  • Creating reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines
  • Codifying a process for cooperative management
  • Managing for the forage base

Recreational anglers stand on the brink of change, as the ecosystems that make up our marine fisheries continue to deal with various threats and instability. Invasive species, human interference, pollution, climate and a wide range of other factors are weighing heavily on the oceans and bays surrounding our country.
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If fishery policy is not optimized for the modern world we live in, saltwater fishing may never again be the same. In order to preserve the tradition and heritage attached to fishing in America, the recommendations of A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries should be taken seriously.

What do you think is the most important issue facing saltwater fishing? Leave your comments below.

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Why You Should Care About a New Saltwater Fisheries Report