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Encourage partnership, engagement, and innovation.

See below for background information and comments received on this draft goal concept.

Background Information

Wise stewardship of our living marine resources is a responsibility shared between our science and management partners (i.e., the states, commissions, and councils) and the fishing public. NOAA Fisheries understands that an engaged and informed public can improve science and decision-making.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What would you like us to know about this topic?
  2. How should we incorporate these considerations into the policy principles?

Some suggestions shared with NOAA Fisheries include:

Comments on Draft Goal

September 2014 Comments

  • Non-commercial fishermen counts are conducted by US Fish and Wildlife Service and differ from NMFS estimates. There needs to be clearer partnership in non-commercial fishing data collection to ensure that figures and data are consistent. There is also a need to identify current partnerships and projects to avoid duplication of efforts and provide more assistance to those partners and projects that may need it.
    Submitted September 12
  • As chair of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management’s working group and a member of the Commission, I am submitting the following comments on behalf of the Commission and its working group regarding input for the National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Policy solicited by NOAA from the recreational fishing community. These comments are based on discussions conducted during the Commission workshops and working group meetings throughout 2013. Personally, I would like to thank NOAA staff for undertaking the effort to engage the public by conducting a series of meetings, webinars and seminars over the last four months. Many of the ideas discussed at these meetings reflect the sentiments and proposals that were suggested throughout the Commission’s workshops and have been made by the organizations supporting the Commission’s work. I and other Commissioners and working group members look forward to continuing to work with NOAA staff and the recreational fishing community at large as drafts of the policy and the final policy are developed.

    The Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fishing Management (Morris-Deal Commission) commends NOAA on its effort to engage the public and gather comments from anglers, charter captains and guides and the fishing and boating industry across our nation to help guide the formation of the National Saltwater Recreational Fishing Policy. The Commission and its supporting working group are also appreciative that NOAA personnel have recognized and credited the Commission and its recommendations made in the report “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” as a primary driving force behind the effort to create this policy. As the Commission notes in its report, the creation of this policy is of vital importance because it will help the National Marine Fisheries Service continue to make progress towards elevating the importance of recreational fishing and recognizing the cultural and economic significance of recreational fishing to coastal communities and across America. Especially now, as lawmakers continue to advance their work and ramp up public engagement on a reauthorization of the Magnuson –Stevens Act, it is important that NOAA continue to incorporate saltwater angling into its policies and considerations of how to best manage our nation’s marine resources for the benefit of all Americans.

    The Commission’s comments are based on how the recommendations made in its Marine Vision report relate to the four policy draft goals listed in NOAA’s discussion guide distributed at the public engagement/town hall meetings. It’s worth noting that many of the Commission’s comments regarding what a national recreational fishing policy should include have already been detailed in the draft goals and ideas suggested to NOAA listed in the discussion draft. Many of these ideas were discussed at length during the Commission workshops and have been presented by the various recreational fishing and conservation groups that organized the Commission’s work. It is the hope of the Commission that these ideas serve as the foundation of the policy as it continues to be developed.

    DRAFT GOAL #3: Encourage Partnership, Engagement and Innovation

    As previously stated, the recreational fishing community has championed fisheries conservation and better management of marine resources for the last century and anglers are poised and eager to work with fisheries managers to help gather more accurate and timely data and work to improve fisheries habitat and management. The groups supporting the Commission have all advocated for and partnered with state and federal fisheries scientists and managers to help provide more accurate data by developing catch and harvest reporting programs, expanding tagging efforts and contributing funding and expertise to habitat creation and restoration efforts.

    Expanding NOAA’s current efforts to work with state agencies and fisheries conservation and advocacy groups on efforts such as barotrauma reduction, fish tagging, harvest rates, angler effort, stock analysis and habitat creation and restoration will help the agency achieve the Commission’s recommendations to adopt a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management and codifying a process for cooperative management.
    Submitted September 12
  • Partnerships can be helpful, especially around recreational data collection. NMFS must do a better job of engaging anglers and utilizing widely available technology to enhance the amount and quality of recreational fishing data collected.

    However, in the commercial realm it often appears that “partnerships” magically lead to the ability of commercial fishermen to kill more fish. Fishery dependent science is not necessarily the best science. Real investment in real science is the best choice.
    Submitted September 12
  • The council process seem to only hear from the loudest voices from a few of the angriest organizations - the RFA, in particular, who only represents a small fraction of the for-hire industry they claim to represent. Furthermore, there needs to be more done to encourage recreational involvement without the fear of reprisals and threats from sea food industry representatives, aggressive commercial fishermen and aggressive charter boat captains. Without any protections from the extremists which run the process recreational involvement will be quiet or null. Focus groups and forums etc. that are separate from commercial interests could really benefit management.
    Submitted September 12
  • "Partnership" and "engagement" can be dangerous concepts in fisheries management, for the simple reason that "partners" and other "engaged" parties generally have their own motives for cooperating, and are likely to introduce such biases into the management process.

    "Cooperative" research is particularly suspect, as the researchers serving as hired guns for various interest groups are generally trying to cast doubt on existing science in order to increase the permissible harvest. No trade organization or other interest group is likely to pay outside experts to appear at a stock assessment workshop in order to prove that there are fewer fish available and that harvests should be reduced. One of the greatest examples from current management efforts is a particular fisheries scientist who is hired to demonstrate "dome shaped selectivity curves" which in theory means that stocks are undersampled (because some portion of the population is underrepresented in the sampling) and biomass underestimated. As a result of such scientist's efforts, the Atlantic pollock estimates, and thus allowable harvest, were increased by 600%, with managers assuming that substantial "cryptic biomass" existed, even though it is not being seen by either biologists or fishermen. That is a very dangerous approach to management which puts the stock at substantial risk.

    We can also look at the recent suspension of the Research Set Aside Program in the Mid-Atlantic, after that Council's lead scientist noted that much of the work done was substandard and should not be included in stock assessments.

    The science used to manage fisheries must be of the highest quality, and subject to strict peer review. The SAW/SARC model used in GAFRO can serve as a good example of how the program should work, with a committee of disinterested international experts used as the final arbiters of all work done. Angler surveys, self-reporting, surveys by state agencies with an interest in satisfying stakeholders are little more than anecdotal evidence, and fall far short of the standard of quality that is needed to properly manage fisheries.
    Submitted September 12
  • Ensure unrestricted access to recreational fishermen nationwide under current state and federal laws.
    Submitted September 11
  • I don't know how to help you do your job. But I do know you are responsible for putting a lot of people out of business.
    Submitted September 7
  • I would like to see NOAA partner with and provide more support for local non-profits who have a direct and/or indirect impact on the conservation of our fisheries. Many local non-profits are successful in engaging their communities and educating residents about important information that is specifically related to their geographic area. These local non-profits are a good way to disseminate top-level information provided by NOAA on the community level.

    Small groups can also be very innovative and diverse in their methods of community engagement. Some of their techniques might also foster improved methods of education and outreach on higher levels.
    Submitted September 4
  • Well, this one is the nearest and dearest to my heart, soul and passion - which I'm sure doesn't come as a huge surprise. First of all, allow me to simply reverse the paradigm; starting with innovation. Of course, we need more innovation. We either progress or digress. FishAlerts is a perfect example of this -- give people better, more useful and innovative tools, and I believe they will make better, more informed decisions - which can only help the environment and management, as well. Also, by encouraging Engagement and Partnership, Innovation can then thrive. You can't have one without the other. We need to encourage partnership, engagement and innovation on a national and global scale. H.G. Wells said — 'Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.' Isn't that what we are talking about here…?
    Submitted September 3
  • Bill Gates does this... in fact everyone in both the public and private sectors does, or should do this - establishment as a separate goal is calling the sky blue. Let's establish some meaningful goals which actually say something which is engaging and innovative!
    Submitted September 3

August 2014 Comments

  • Striper: rec. lower limit to one fish per day,24" to 30". Because there is now a saltwater lic., there could be a tag that could be used to allow a rec. fisherman to keep one striper above 30" per season. When that tag is used the rec. fisherman would need to report it within 24hrs.

    Also in order to get more data: For a rec fisherman to be able to buy a lic. They would need to fill a questionnaire about how many times they fished last yr and now many fish they caught,kept and if they used their tag.

    As far as commercial striper I would keep it the way it is now.
    Submitted August 29

July 2014 Comments

  • Partner closely with National and State Parks, and support their efforts to create management plans. Recent planning efforts by Biscayne National Park in southern Florida have been resisted by some fishing communities and a misguided "right to fish" mindset that ignores the science. Fishing needs to be understood as hunting, and hunting in national parks is nearly taboo. Parks underwater deserve the same respect as parks on land.
    Submitted July 22