Press Releases

Press Releases

Monument will conserve important marine resources while maintaining public access for recreational fishing


The recreational fishing and boating community applauds the decision by President Obama to differentiate public use from commercial extraction of marine resources by including recreational fishing as an allowable activity in the new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, located approximately 150 miles off the Massachusetts coast. This announcement carries on with the precedent in recent marine monument decisions to allow recreational fishing as an important and sustainable use of marine waters.
 
“For many years, the recreational fishing community has worked to educate legislators and decision-makers on the social, conservation and economic benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation,” said American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Recreational fishing and resource conservation go hand-in-hand. We are grateful that the Obama Administration has taken a thoughtful approach to designating marine monuments in a way that recognizes the importance of allowing the public to access and enjoy these precious areas.”
 

Read more: Recreational Fishing Will Be Allowed in New England Marine Monument

The upcoming meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management CouncilSept. 12-16in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is one that could greatly impact the future of recreational angling in the region. Among the items up for discussion are an ad hoc, precedent-setting reallocation of dolphin from the recreational sector to the commercial sector, and a limited entry program for the charter/for-hire industry that would serve as the first step to privatization of marine resources.

The vast majority of dolphin harvest has historically occurred in the recreational sector, which depends on an abundance of the fish to ensure anglers have the opportunity to catch some. In fact, the original Dolphin-Wahoo Fishery Management Plan recognized the importance of dolphin to the recreational sector and the looming potential conflict:

Owing to the significant importance of the dolphin/wahoo fishery to the recreational fishing community in the Atlantic, the goal of this fishery management plan is to maintain the current harvest level of dolphin and insure that no new fisheries develop. With the potential for effort shifts in the historical longline fisheries for sharks, tunas, and swordfish, these shifts or expansions into nearshore coastal waters to target dolphin could compromise the current allocation of the dolphin resource between recreational and commercial user groups. Further, these shifts in effort in the commercial fishery, dependent upon the magnitude (knowing that some dolphin trips may land over 25,000 pounds in a single trip) could result in user conflict and localized depletion in abundance.

Read more: South Atlantic Council set to debate issues  critical to recreational anglers

NOAA and our partners at the Fisheries Management Councils have taken an important step to clarify how allocations of fish harvest among recreational, commercial, and subsistence fishermen should be made.

Today, NOAA is issuing an agency Fisheries Allocation and Review Policy (pdf). We are issuing two complementary procedural directives to provide guidance for implementing the policy: Recommended Practices and Factors  to Consider When Reviewing and Making Allocation Decisions (pdf) and Criteria for Initiating Fisheries Allocation Reviews (pdf).
 
We'll also host a conference call on Tuesday, August 2 at 4 pm (EDT) to discuss the policy and answer any questions for the recreational community.
 

Read more: NOAA Announces New Fisheries Allocation Policy

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