NOAA embarked on an initiative in September 2009 to strengthen our partnership with the saltwater recreational fishing community. The initiative has worked to establish an agency culture where recreational fisheries values are recognized.
- A new position – the National Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries – was created and supported by both an internal team of regional NOAA Fisheries coordinators and group of outside advisors linked to the Agency’s official Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.
- A national Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit – held in April 2010 – provided direction to the national policy advisor and his support network. The Summit kicked off an improved dialogue and commitment to action on priority issues.
- Summit deliberations formed the basis for NOAA’s national and regional Recreational Saltwater Fisheries Action Agendas, including an agenda for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species, which are planning documents that serve as the roadmap for future collaborations.
- A second Summit – held in April 2014 – allowed us to reflect on past progress, identify current challenges, and brainstorm solutions. At the Summit, we committed to creating a NOAA Fisheries policy on saltwater recreational fishing.
- After extensive public discussion, we released a new agency Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy in February 2015 to help guide agency planning, activities, and decision-making.
- We created the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries 2015-2018 Implementation Plan in April 2015 as a basic roadmap for Agency action related to recreational fisheries at the national level through 2018. In April 2016, we released Regional Implementation Plans that lay out a course for our regional recreational fisheries work in 2016 and 2017.
- In June 2016, in coordination with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, we convened a National Artificial Reef Workshop. The workshop highlighted important factors to consider in understanding the potential role of artificial reefs to support and/or enhance sustainable fisheries in regions across the nation.
The initial internal restructuring enabled us to become more coordinated, strategic and responsive to angler concerns. The result is better conversations and new collaborations with the angling public. Below are several reports that provide more information on the initiative and both national and regional activities.