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Going Fishing

June 8, 2015

This coming weekend, I’ll drive my three young kids down to a weathered old pier that extends into the warm waters of Tampa Bay. There, we’ll take part in a one of summer’s great traditions – going fishing.

We won’t be alone. This week we celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week and join with 11 million Americans who think wetting a line in saltwater is a great way to spend time.

NOAA Fisheries and anglers have a lot in common. We share a commitment to sustainability and an appreciation for all that fishing brings to our lives and society. Recreational fishing is more than just a fun pastime. Fishing connects us with our natural resources and provides tremendous economic and social benefits to our coastal communities. 

Five years ago, a sea change began in how the agency viewed recreational fishing; it would take a renewed commitment and concerted action to fully realize the social, economic, and environmental benefits fishing provides.

In the last six months, we’ve hit two important milestones. First, we released a new agency Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy to help guide agency planning, activities, and decision-making. This led to creation of an Implementation Plan to serve as a roadmap for agency action related to recreational fisheries at the national level through 2018.

More than just paper documents, the policy and plan help NOAA Fisheries achieve our core missions in ways which benefit anglers and result in tangible on-the-water improvements.

One example is our ongoing work to improve the survival of released fish, especially those brought up from deep-water. Some of this work is outlined in our new video entitled, Down Scope: Saving Snapper and Grouper from Barotrauma and on the Bycatch Explained website.

Through these and other activities, NOAA Fisheries is working with our citizens and management partners to sustainably manage our fisheries and ensure this great American pastime is a tradition that will be handed down to our children.

Please join me and my family in wetting a line or getting on the water in celebration National Fishing and Boating Week.

Russ Dunn, National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries