This month, in collaboration with marine industry partners, the Center for Coastal Conservation published A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration. The Vision highlights the top recommendations of the marine recreational fishing community for the incoming Administration and a continuation of our work with the next Congress. The recommendations outlined in the Vision seek to more effectively manage the marine recreational fishing sector—to improve the public’s access to public resources, to create jobs, and to enhance conservation of fish stocks.
The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing at the federal level. It suggests new approaches should reflect the reality of the demand for recreational access to U.S. marine fishery resources, the current economic activity associated with that access, and the scientific data of the light footprint recreational access has on our fishery resources.
The U.S. coastal waters are among our nation’s greatest treasures. Today, 11 million Americans turn to those waters each year for recreational saltwater fishing. The National Marine Fisheries Service now estimates that the recreational saltwater fishing industry contributes more than $70 billion annually in economic activity and generates 455,000 jobs. However, outdated federal management policies threaten to stem this positive economic trend.
The Center is deeply committed to ensuring a bright future for marine recreational fishing. It’s a critical component of the U.S. economy, and a proud part of America’s heritage of conservation. The recommendations in this report will ensure that as a nation, we continue this legacy. Fishing is a treasured pastime and tradition for millions of Americans and needs to be treated as such. The new Administration and Congress should take steps to keep this tradition alive – for the benefit of all those who enjoy fishing, for the hundreds of thousands employed in the recreational fishing industry, and for future generations of anglers who will fall in love with the sea.
Center partners contributing to and supporting the Vision include: American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
In recent years, important first steps have been taken to acknowledge marine recreational fishing. The Vision will aid in the continuation of changing how recreational fishing is addressed in federal fisheries management.