Saltwater Sportfishing Recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

April 2014 — The Fisheries Department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it was going to develop a national recreational fishing policy during the Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit in 2014. The NOAA is responsible for managing marine species, especially from those who target them for consumption. The development of a new policy could mean a lot for recreational fishermen, especially those who are interested in saltwater boating and fishing.

The NOAA has a large constituency of recreational and non-commercial fishermen, which totals 11 million people who spent a total of $70 billion and sustained 450,000 jobs in 2011. Reformation of the current policies could benefit both recreational and non-commercial fishermen who are interested in saltwater boating and fishing. Through this commitment to developing a new policy, the NOAA has recognized the importance role that saltwater anglers play in managing marine wildlife. The voices of industry tackle companies, as well as motor and boat manufacturers, helped to raise the voice of sport fishermen across the country.

The policy has important implications for both marine wildlife conservation organizations, but also for tackle and boating industry leaders. A standard will be set for decision making regarding wildlife management that involves the voice and opinions from the recreational fishing sector, including angling groups. The anglers are not looking to harm the wildlife, but they believe that proper management involves the voice of both science and the fishing community.

The fishing community started to see movement from the NOAA after they held their first recreational fishing summit back in 2009. The sport fishing coalition, which was launched after a conference, published a report titledA Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries, which included recommendations on moving forward with saltwater management.

Although the coalition published this report, the annual summit continues to address issues that are pertinent to the recreational boating and fishing community. The policy wins and continuing struggle come after many years of advocacy on behalf of individual consumers and industry experts. NOAA has publicly stated its committed to working with the recreational fishing community in order to find cooperative solutions to manage marine wildlife.

Boating Industry leaders, such as the owner of Maverick Boats, Scott Deal, and the founder of Bass Pro, Johnny Moris, served as the co-chair on a commission to reform the policy on saltwater management. Their positions have given them the opportunity to represent the voice of saltwater anglers, who are often left out of the conversation on marine management. The commission has pushed for full recognition of the benefits that stem from recreational saltwater fishing, including the economic and cultural advantages.