NOAA Fisheries: ‘Substantial progress’ on many projects important to recreational anglers

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Chris Oliver, who heads NOAA Fisheries, is touting the agency’s commitments to recreational anglers, including conducting surveys to estimate the economic impact of recreational saltwater fishing.

Oliver said in a leadership message that NOAA Fisheries has made “substantial progress” on or completed more than 80 percent of projects identified in the 2015-2018 National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan.

“As a Gulf Coast native, I have an intimate understanding of how integral saltwater fishing, both recreational and commercial, is to the social, cultural and economic life of our nation’s coastal communities,” Oliver said in the message.

He highlighted some of the activities outlined in a recent progress update on the plan.

They included distributing thousands of fish descending devices to state partners and anglers; issuing final guidance on periodic evaluations of fishery quote allocations; conducting surveys to estimate expenditures and economic impacts associated with saltwater recreational fishing trips; and improving habitats critical to supporting recreationally important species.

“Also since 2015, we have taken many steps to open and strengthen a dialogue with recreational fishermen around the nation, including a recent series of regional roundtable discussions and workshops held in 2017,” Oliver said.

NOAA has developed nine fact sheets that provide snapshots of regional trends, economic impacts, fishing opportunities, issues of interest and key statistics for popular species caught by anglers.

“We understand the importance of recreational fishing to the country and our economy, and we know that saltwater recreational fishing supports coastal communities, fishermen, and contributes to our economy in a big way,” Oliver wrote. “We also know that more progress is made when the agency and anglers take action together.”

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