WASHINGTON, D.C.—Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coast states have reportedly received an additional $3 million (combined) in federal funding for recreational fisheries data collection, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The funding was made possible by the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 (or Modern Fish Act).
NOAA Fisheries, under the Modern Fish Act, must establish state-federal partnerships to improve recreational fisheries data collection.
“The agency’s Marine Recreational Information Program develops, improves and implements a network of recreational fishing surveys to estimate total recreational catch, and maintains such partnerships through Regional Implementation Teams,” NOAA Fisheries staff said in a released statement.
“These investment funds will support the highest priorities these teams have documented,” the statement continued. “They will also advance state specialized survey programs that allow recreational anglers to submit information through electronic technologies.”
Funds were specifically distributed to regional fisheries networks, via existing agreements.
The Pacific Coast Recreational Fisheries Information Network, for example, will receive $900,000 “to restore sampling levels to increase the precision of estimates produced by recreational fishing surveys in California, Oregon and Washington.”
Other programs receiving funding are the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program ($900,000) and Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Information Network ($1.2 million).
“The Marine Recreational Information Program and its Regional Implementation Teams will work together to determine how to distribute the funds among the state sampling programs,” NOAA Fisheries staff stated. “While recreational fisheries data collection has been impacted by Covid-19 – with several states suspending or modifying their shoreside and at-sea sampling programs in accordance with local social distancing guidelines – we anticipate these funds will be applied once in-person data collection has fully resumed.”