Several organizations in the boating industry signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to expand a framework of cooperation for mutually beneficial projects to promote sustainable recreational fishing and boating in federal waters. The agreement includes national marine sanctuaries.
The initiative was spearheaded by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
John Armor, director of National Marine Sanctuaries for NOAA; Sam Rauch, deputy assistant administrator for Regulatory Programs for NOAA; and Frank Peterson, president and CEO of RBFF, signed the MOA at a ceremony during the Miami International Boat Show. They were joined by Thom Dammrich, NMMA president; and Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association.
“NOAA is excited about our continued collaboration with the recreational sector and the growing support for outdoor recreation as a driver of our Nation’s Blue Economy,” said RDML Timothy Gallaudet, acting undersecretary of commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and acting NOAA administrator, during the ceremony. “This agreement will strengthen the partnership with NOAA, ensuring that sustainable recreational fishing and boating continue to benefit coastal communities and enrich the lives of millions of Americans.”
Peterson said his group was “thrilled” to enter the agreement, which he said would increase angler recruitment, retention and “reactivation” efforts among American families. “This partnership will not only help improve fishing and boating experiences overall, but also support the conservation of our marine aquatic resources,” Peterson said. “It will also help us meet our 60-in-60 goal to grow participation, which benefits the entire industry.”
“Anglers and boaters are some of our country’s foremost conservationists, and we thank NOAA for working hand-in-hand with us to responsibly expand access to recreational saltwater fishing,” Dammrich said during the meeting.
Peterson told Trade Only Today that his association reached out to the Department of Interior and received positive feedback concerning access to lakes and waterways under its jurisdiction. “NOAA is a separate agency, and they were also excited to partner with us,” Peterson said. “This administration seems to be bent on having boaters and fishermen use the country’s waterways.”