NOAA Fisheries’ New Plan Increases Angler Engagement

The federal fishery agency is demonstrating its commitment to recreational fisheries with plans to improve angler participation and communication in coming months.

Recreational fishing in the U.S. is vital both to the economy and a well-being of millions for whom the sport is a major form of recreation.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

NOAA Fisheries released six regional Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Engagement Plans as part of our celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week 2019. Together, these plans provide a blueprint for our agency to improve regional engagement and better communicate with recreational fishermen. Our plans include a range of activities—from making improvements to online resources that reach thousands of anglers at a time to public workshops and youth outreach events where anglers and agency staff can meet and talk face to face.

Driven by the plans, we are already working to partner with recreational-fishing clubs and other nonprofit organizations to promote marine education through fishing events for veterans, kids, and Hispanic youth on the West Coast and in the Pacific Islands and New England. An increased presence by agency staff—including our regional rec fish coordinators—at fishing and boating shows around the country is another step we’re taking to ensure that Fisheries is more available to fishermen.

The plans also commit NOAA to working alongside anglers to improve scientific understanding and the health of the marine environment. We are planning several collaborations, including citizen-science research initiatives, habitat-improvement projects, and cooperative fishery surveys and tagging programs for tunas, sharks, and billfish. The regional plans are one example of our agency-wide focus on recreational fisheries. They also support our commitment to expand and grow the blue economy. Additional information on our work with anglers and copies of the regional plans are available on our website.

About the Author: Russ Dunn is the National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries in the Office of the Assistant Administrator at NOAA Fisheries