NOAA’s Fisheries’ Office Of Recreational Fisheries: 2023 In Review

Highlights of recreational fisheries efforts in 2023.

As 2023 comes to a close, we want to share a look at some of our work, highlighting national and regional activities that showcase the successes and collaborations shaping NOAA Fisheries’ efforts on recreational fisheries. We remain committed to ensuring a broadly accessible and diverse array of sustainable saltwater recreational and non-commercial fisheries for the benefit and enjoyment of the nation. 

National Highlights

In September 2023, NOAA Fisheries released a final revised National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy, along with seven associated regional and national implementation plans. These documents guide our approach to, and work on, saltwater recreational fisheries. “The recreational fishing community is a valued constituency and critical stewardship partner for NOAA Fisheries and the nation,” said Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “We are excited to have updated the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy and new implementation plans that reflect and reinforce our commitment to anglers and sustainable recreational fisheries. We look forward to achieving a vibrant, sustainable future for recreational fishing through partnership.” 

Involving anglers in conservation and science was an important focus in 2023. We continued our collaboration with the National Fish Habitat Partnership by supporting four new on-the-ground fish habitat restoration projects actively involving anglers in Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska. The 2023 projects bring our total habitat investments to roughly $1 million in the past 4 years. We also expanded the contributions of anglers to science by supporting a number of research projects that directly involve fishermen in cooperative research. Cooperative research is the partnership between the fishing industry and the science community to improve our understanding of ocean ecosystems and support sustainable fisheries management. These included:

Understanding the importance of connecting families and youth to the water, we co-hosted family fishing events in the Florida KeysMallows Bay, and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries. These events provided access to the National Marine Sanctuary system and introduced families from underserved communities to recreational fishing and conservation. “We truly enjoy supporting these types of recreational opportunities. Helping to bring families together and introducing kids to a sustainable life-long outdoor activity is incredibly rewarding. We are thrilled to be planning more events like this for 2024.” said Russ Dunn, National Policy Advisor for the Office of Recreational Fisheries. 

We also released a Dive In with NOAA Fisheries podcast episode that highlighted the importance of recreational fisheries to the U.S, economy and fisheries habitat. It also discussed the updated National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy. We learned that the recreational fishing community has an appetite for more podcasts and are planning more for the future.

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