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Promote Public Access to Quality Recreational Fishing Opportunities

Access to quality fishing opportunities is a prerequisite to recreational fishing. Working with management partners, fishing access is collectively determined through the Regional Fishery Management Council process. Promoting and supporting access can take many forms, from establishing healthy and abundant stocks of recreationally important fish, to improving the quota allocation process, to accounting for conservation gains when developing regulatory measures. In addition to supporting access to fishing opportunities through participation in the Council process, the Agency will take additional actions to support fishing access. Actions supporting this guiding principle include:

Balance conservation, public access, and economic and social benefits.

  • Engage Regional Fishery Management Councils to review harvest allocations on a regular basis to ensure fishery management is achieving goals set forth in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), including issuing guidance developed in partnership with the Council Coordination Committee.
  • Present information on conservation gains (e.g., improved post-release survival) to Councils, fostering consideration of expanded recreational fishing opportunities, when appropriate.
  • Engage the recreational fishing community in habitat restoration projects (e.g., reef restoration) in NOAA Habitat Focus Areas and other areas to preserve and enhance fishing opportunities and improve ecosystem health.
  • Evaluate whether revisions are needed to current regulations under National Standard 10 of the MSA to promote safe recreational access to fisheries.
  • Promote the legitimacy and recognition of the economic importance of recreational fisheries within international fisheries management bodies, and seek to maintain and, where feasible and appropriate, expand U.S. recreational fishing opportunities on internationally managed fish stocks.

Promote awareness of quality fishing opportunities through new information and tools.

  • Identify and evaluate fishery-focused additions to NOAA electronic nautical charts to assist anglers in accessing fishery resources.
  • Collaborate with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to identify and highlight recreational fishing opportunities in national marine sanctuaries.
  • Support conservation education and local fishing opportunities for children and non-traditional fishery participants.

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