NOAA has developed Regional Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy Implementation Plans for 2016-2017. Each plan outlines a set of shared priorities tied to concrete actions. They focus attention on where it will have the greatest impact on the various regions. The plans were developed by each of the regional offices with input from local leaders in the angling community, as well as state and regional fishery management councils.

Recreational saltwater fisheries are an important component of our regional identity. Annually, millions of recreational fishing trips take place throughout the region. Recreational fishing contributes $4.8 billion to our regional economy each year ($1.3 billion across New England and $3.5 billion across the mid-Atlantic in 2013). For-hire vessels, private vessels, and shore-based anglers harvest more than 75 million pounds of fish. The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center are responsible for the science-based stewardship of our nation’s living marine resources in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Together with our management partners, we are responsible for maintaining healthy marine and coastal ecosystems, sustainable and productive fishery resources, and commercial and recreational access to those fishery resources for the long-term use and benefit of the nation.

On a national level, NOAA Fisheries has been refocusing some of our efforts to better support saltwater recreational fishing and recreational fisheries issues. The National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy was published in 2015 and highlights six key principles intended to guide us in considering the development and promotion of sustainable high-quality saltwater recreational fisheries. In the Northeast, our vision for the future includes thriving fish stocks, healthy fish habitats, vibrant coastal communities, and world-class fisheries. Achieving this goal requires a foundation of trust between NOAA and recreational anglers; therefore, collaboration with the recreational fisheries community is essential. This implementation plan is the next step toward making recreational fisheries a key focus of regional activities.

While the plan will be a basic roadmap for action in the region, it is a living document that can accommodate new challenges and opportunities as they arise. We intend for this plan, and the activities described within it, to embrace a wide range of partners and stakeholders to allow for successful recreational and for-hire fisheries. This implementation plan is built on engagement with the recreational fishing public. Prior to developing this plan, we reached out to the recreational community for input to help us focus on their issues of greatest concern, as well as suggestions on how best to address those issues. Based on that input, we developed a draft implementation plan that we presented at meetings of the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils for further public input.

The Councils provided comments that we have incorporated into the final version of the plan. To view the plan PDF, go to

Download the Greater Atlantic Regional Implementation Plan.

Download the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Regional Implementation Plan.

For more information, contact Russell Dunn, national policy advisor on Recreational Fisheries at 727-551-5740.