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Enhance transparency, follow-through, and continuity of action.

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

Background Information

Public confidence is strengthened when there is a clear understanding of how and why decisions are made and stated objectives are achieved. Predictability is enhanced by maintaining a steady organizational approach to governance.

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

  • This goal should be integrated with Goal 2 which provides for non-commercial considerations. The non-commercial fishing community would like more than just consideration, but the ability for those considerations to be transparent and that they are provided with follow-through and action. Again, there are processes that allow for this and the goal(s) should be clarified to reflect these processes.
    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 #4: Enhance transparency, follow-through and continuity of action

    There is distrust of NOAA Fisheries and the regional management councils among anglers State fisheries agencies have done a better job of earning angler trust by allowing more participation by anglers in management, data gathering and in setting season, creel and size limits. State agencies have also done a much better job of recognizing the economic and cultural importance of recreational fishing.

    As recommended by the Commission, adopting a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management that emphasizes abundance rather than maximum yield and manages fisheries stocks and mortality rather than trying to estimate angler effort and harvest in relation to a quota will ultimately allow more consistent seasons and regulations and improve angler confidence in federal management. NOAA can also improve that confidence by investing in long-term angler outreach and education programs that explain management laws and policies and encourage angler participation in management practices. And, ensuring anglers have adequate representation on regional councils by councilmen who represent the recreational fishing community is very important to gaining trust of the councils by anglers.

    Also, codifying a process for cooperative management, as recommended by the Commission, will help further develop consistencies between state and federal regulations, leading to less confusion and frustration and greater confidence among anglers.

    The Commission, again, appreciates the effort undertaken by NOAA to develop this crucial policy and looks forward to continuing to work with NOAA staff to ensure the policy accurately reflects the economic, cultural and conservation needs of the recreational fishing community.
    Submitted September 12
  • This draft goal is one to which all fisheries managers should aspire. Of course, it is more of an operational goal than an overarching policy goal. (In fact the first two draft goals are the only two that seem like “policy” goals). The political nature of fisheries management under the Council system often leads to confusion and piecemeal/inconsistent policy (e.g. different catch limits across ecologically arbitrary state lines) which then feeds the perception of a lack of transparency in management. This problem could be exacerbated by increased management by states.
    Submitted September 12
  • It is difficult to fault NMFS on transparency. If an angler wants to know the status of any stock in the northeast, the reports of the latest Stock Assessment Workshop/Stock Assessment Review Committee is readily available on the Internet, and more recent interim assessments and regulatory actions can be found on the web pages of the New England and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils. SEDAR information is equally accessible for species managed in the South Atlantic Region, and the websites of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council are reliable sources of information on regulatory initiatives (I am less familiar with the websites and work of the other regional fishery management councils, and will not comment on the information that they may make available). Anglers interested in such topics need only make a simple google search; no further "transparency" efforts are necessary. NMFS should not be expected to spoon-feed those unwilling to make the minimal effort to find the information themselves.

    NMFS' limited budget should not be squandered on funding recreational (or commercial) programs. Any efforts to promote and financially support recreational fishing should be funded solely by the trade organizations that profit from such activities, along with local chambers of commerce, etc. NMFS should dedicate its funds, to the extent possible, to obtaining the necessary scientific information and using such information to properly manage fish stocks. In the end, the most important recreational fishing program is the maintenance of healthy and abundant fish populations.
    Submitted September 12
  • I feel like you don't consider the facts,and it does not matter. No wait I think I'll change my mind. I don't trust your judgement or your numbers. I should find another coast to fish on.
    Submitted September 7
  • I think that NOAA Fisheries is truly trying to do just this… 'Enhance transparency, follow-through, and continuity of action.' In the digital age, this is vastly becoming a moral imperative. For if you do not, enhance transparency, follow-through, and continuity of action - the world will generally find out in a matter of minutes, if not sooner… Therefore, this illuminates again the need for more innovation and better / faster communication. Knowledge transference is huge here! We need to figure out more effective ways to support innovation and organizations that operate with those standards at their core!
    Submitted September 3
  • This goal should be written into the annual evaluation goals of each NOAA employee. As for an organizational goal, it is just something to fill the page. It may be quantified on an individual level (size of inbox vs outbox, individual productivity, etc.), but trying to quantify on an organizational level to judge success - most difficult. The VA just found this out - it was the people themselves who were the problem. The organizational goals were ok.
    Submitted September 3

August 2014 Comments

  • For recreational fishing: Review the current daily catch for Stripers in MA and consider changing it from 2 fish no shorter than 28" per day. Consider a new daily catch to be one fish 28" rather than two. Or change to one fish no shorter than 20" daily. Reason, many shorts are caught and damaged. The one fish no less than 20" will reduce the fishing pressure of dwindling stock. Thanks
    Submitted August 29
  • I would like to see the stripped bass length raised and daily take home rate also raised, rather then putting the fish off limits to us recreational fisherman... I would be in favor of a tag issued and purchased at local sport stores..something like the Snook tag in Florida.
    Submitted August 29

June 2014 Comments

  • Recently I inquired how much of a monetary incentive was received by the prosecuting attorneys for the ‘successful’ prosecutions of fisheries violations. This agency policy was exposed by the now famous 2010 Zinser report. I invoked the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ as it applied to the NMFS and also sited the new policy of a more ‘open book’ that had been adopted by the agency. I was informed that there would be a charge of $500. for the information. Astonishing to say the least!

    Commercial fishermen and fish dealers are required to file weekly reports of landings on line and face stiff fines for failure to so. They have computer and office expenses as well as spending their own time in performing these conscripted acts of mental and physical exertion. What are they paid? NOTHING. When I inquired as to why, I was told it’s simply the cost of doing business.

    NEWS FLASH! Monies are provided for distribution to the maritime states by the Saltonstall-Kennedy legislation of the late 1950’s. Those monies were mysteriously diverted to the operation budget of the NMFS in 1980 and guess what? Nobody knows where it goes. Shredding is a mater of routine as was told to us by Dale Jones, head of enforcement, during a congressional investigation which was triggered by the Zinser report.

    Let’s put the two above together! Charging citizens for information which should be free and plenty of money available to aid the fishing industry but nobody at the NMFS knows where it goes.

    Hay, Mr. Zinser, crank up to machine ….it’s time to go to work again.
    Submitted June 10