No matter how the November 8th election turns out, the nation’s leading marine conservation, angling and recreational fishing/boating trades associations are already working on shaping the future of sportfishing in Washington DC.

In a unique show of solidarity, the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, 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 has released a landmark series of recommendations for the incoming Administration and the new Congress that the groups together hope will improve access to public waters, create economic growth, and enhance the conservation of marine fish stocks.

The guidance for federal policy makers in A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration released on October 19, 2016 calls for an end to antiquated federal policies that have inhibited a vital source of economic growth and a proud American tradition.

"We are deeply committed to ensuring a bright future for marine recreational fishing," said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. "It’s a critical component of our economy, and it’s a proud part of America’s heritage of conservation. The recommendations in this report will ensure that we as a nation do all we can to continue this legacy."

The Vision report highlights the economic value of recreational fishing in coastal waters. Today, 11 million American anglers fish for recreation in saltwater. From license sales to retail sales, 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 However, outdated federal management policies threaten to stem this positive economic trend.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 report represents the culmination of considerable thought and discussion put forward by the recreational fishing community," said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. "It defines the policy priorities that our industry must advance with the incoming Administration and new Congress in order to achieve a much needed balance between meeting conservation goals and providing ample recreational opportunities and access."

The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing at the federal level. New approaches should reflect the reality of demand for recreational access to our 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.

"It’s important that lawmakers and policymakers understand that commercial and recreational fishing need to be managed differently," said Ted Venker, Conservation Director of Coastal Conservation Association and Chairman of the Center for Coastal Conservation’s Government Relations Committee. "The Vision report’s recommendations suggest taking a clear-eyed look at our nation’s fisheries, using modern science and technology to guide decision-making."

"Fishing is a treasured pastime and tradition for millions of Americans and needs to be treated as such," continued Angers. "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."

American Sportfishing Association
Center for Coastal Conservation
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
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership