National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues a first-of-its-kind saltwater fishing policy.
The American Sportsfishing Association has urged NOAA to create a policy to coordinate federal efforts and promote saltwater fishing. NOAA is finally ready to implement a recreational fishing policy to enhance and expand saltwater recreational fishing opportunities.
The new policy is a big step toward growing the relationship between NOAA Fisheries and the recreational fishing community.
ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman said, “While the sportfishing industry and the recreational fishing community have been frustrated with saltwater fisheries’ management in federal waters, much of it is attributable to the lack of clear guidance within NOAA Fisheries for how to properly manage and consider recreational fishing’s interests. This new policy sets forth a path for how the agency will elevate recreational fishing in a way that benefits both fisheries resources and public access to them.”
The goals of the policy include maintaining healthy recreational saltwater fishing resources, promoting saltwater fishing for social, cultural and economic benefit, and utilizing conservation to enable enjoyment of saltwater recreational fisheries.
“We are looking forward to the policy’s implementation plans which we understand will be released this spring. The implementation plan will describe how the agency will put this policy into action. These will give our community a better sense of some of the specific improvements we might see as a result of this policy,” said ASA Ocean Resource Policy Director Mike Leonard.
The Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management is co-chaired by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal of Maverick Boats. The Commission recommended some key recreational fishing policy changes they feel are necessary to fully realize the benefits of saltwater recreational fishing.