NOAA, recreation industry to strengthen sustainable fishing and boating in federal waters

February 2018

two men on a boat fishing
Sustainable fishing and responsible boating are popular recreational activities that bring enjoyment to many and provide economic benefits to communities like the Florida Keys. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

Recreational fishing and boating are enormously popular American pastimes, an economic force, and a bridge to conservation. In recognition of the importance of these activities to coastal economies, NOAA today announced a formal partnership with leading industry and resource management groups. This partnership aims to strengthen collaboration promoting sustainable, long-term recreational fishing and boating opportunities in federal waters, including national marine sanctuaries.

The formal agreement is between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA Fisheries, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Sportfishing Association, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. It is intended to help communities realize greater social and economic benefits from sustainable recreational fishing and boating and inspire momentum for a healthy ocean.

three people signing an mou
Frank Peterson (Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation), Sam Rauch (NOAA Fisheries), and John Armor (NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries) sign the agreement. Photo: NOAA

“Public support through partnerships is critical to effective protection, sustainable use, and enjoyment of the nation’s marine environment,” said John Armor, director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “This agreement will help ensure that sustainable recreational fishing and boating continue to benefit coastal communities and enrich the lives of millions of Americans.”

From the Florida Keys to American Samoa, the success of many businesses, millions of dollars in sales, and thousands of jobs directly depend on thriving national marine sanctuaries – iconic destinations that help support sustainable blue economies. For many coastal communities, recreational anglers and boaters are the lifeblood of the local economy, supporting bait and tackle shops, fishing guides, charter boats, boat sales, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Across all national marine sanctuaries, about $8 billion annually is generated in local, coastal, and ocean dependent economies from various activities, including recreation and tourism.

boy standing in waves fishing
A boy reels in his catch while surfcasting in the breathtaking Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

In 2016, saltwater recreational fishing nationwide supported 472,000 jobs, generated $63 billion in sales impacts across the economy, and contributed $39 billion to the gross domestic product. The National Marine Manufacturers Association estimates that the recreational boating industry contributed $170.3 billion in economic activity to the U.S. economy in 2018.

“This agreement advances NOAA Fisheries’ goals of supporting and promoting sustainable saltwater recreational fisheries for the benefit of the nation and is the latest in a series of collaborative actions with anglers,” said Chris Oliver, assistant administrator of NOAA Fisheries. “NOAA is excited about our continued collaboration with the recreational sector and support for outdoor recreation as a driver of our Blue Economy.”

To read the full text of the agreement, click here.

 To learn more, please contact Grace.Bottitta@noaa.gov (NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries) or Russell.Dunn@noaa.gov (NOAA Fisheries).