NOAA plan would help improve recreational fishing data collection efforts

STATEWIDE—A regional implementation plan crafted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would help improve recreational fishing data collection efforts on the West Coast. The data, in turn, would support fisheries science and management along the California coast.

NOAA announced the Pacific Coast Recreational Fisheries Information Network, or Pacific RecFIN, completed its Marine Recreational Information Program Regional Implementation Plan earlier this year.

“These plans represent a significant shift for the program. They clearly establish that regional partners will have a direct role in determining which survey methods are most suitable for their science, stock assessment, and management needs,” NOAA staff said in a released statement. “The [30-page] plan was created in response to Pacific Coast regional needs to enhance data for regional fishery management and science.”

Pacific RecFIN identified seven priorities the implementation plan should address:

  • Maintain/restore base level funding for saltwater sampling
  • Implement/support enhanced electronic data collection
  • Expand on-board sampling of fishing vessels (commercial passenger and recreational charter)
  • Explore new technologies to improve “round-the-clock monitoring of recreational fishing vessels as they exit harbors to fish the ocean”
  • Stratify party charter sampling by trip type and sampling period (for SoCal’s highly migratory species)
  • Improve access to Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey database
  • Calibrate historical catch records, statewide.

Pacific RecFIN was established in 1992 and is a Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission program. Its membership is comprised of representatives from the commission, Pacific Fishery Management Council, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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