TRCP Convenes Panel to Improve Marine Recreational Angling Data
Experts assess federal marine fishing data collection programs and develop recommendations for improvements
WASHINGTON – Marine scientists and fisheries professionals from across the country are meeting today in Washington, D.C., to discuss recreational saltwater fishing data collection and the conservation of marine resources at a blue-ribbon panel hosted by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
During the daylong gathering, the fisheries experts, who represented state, federal, academic, conservation and recreational interests, are developing recommendations intended to improve the accuracy and timeliness of marine recreational fishing data collection. Federal efforts on this front are currently focused on the Marine Recreational Information Program.
MRIP was created to gather data about the practices of recreational saltwater anglers and help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration better manage fish populations so that the impacts of all marine angling sectors are more accurately considered when catch limits are determined for a particular fishery. The panel’s recommendations will include suggestions for how to improve MRIP but, perhaps more importantly, will challenge NOAA to look beyond this program to adopt a broader set of efforts on recreational data gathering that are commensurate with the popularity of saltwater fishing and the economic engine it represents.
“The TRCP is pleased to facilitate conservation of the nation’s marine resources – and sustain our unique recreational angling traditions – by convening this blue-ribbon panel of marine fisheries experts,” said Whit Fosburgh, TRCP president and CEO. “Conscientious, scientific management of America’s recreational fisheries will assure that factors such as a lack of timely catch information do not unduly limit saltwater angling opportunities for sportsmen.”
The recommendations developed by the TRCP panel are based on examples drawn from a range of alternative marine data-collection systems, including research and methods currently used in non-federal fisheries and by other natural resource management programs. They will be submitted for consideration by NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service in a workshop scheduled to take place later this year.
“For too long, recreational anglers have suffered from fishery closures because catch information comes in too late for managers to prevent quotas from being exceeded,” said TRCP Marine Initiative Associate Michael Misurek. “The goal of the sportsman-conservation community is to create a robust recreational data collection system that allows adjustments that don’t exceed annual catch limits and that sustain healthy fish populations.”
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations
and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.