point is that we’re undergoing a complete overhaul of our recreational catch and effort data procedures. One big piece is the
National Saltwater Angler Registry [see sidebar], which is in its
first year. We’re bound by law to use the best available science in
making management decisions, which we do consistently while
at the same time we endeavor to improve the data we use. While
there’s discretion afforded by both NOAA and the Federal Fishery
Management Councils in the techniques that might be applied to
achieve the conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens
Act, there are basic inputs and basic outcomes that define the
boundaries and the nature of that process.
You held a Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit in April
with over 100 representatives of all sectors within sportfishing.
What has come from that meeting?
Our focus was to identify actions to address the priority concerns
of the recreational fishing community. I said it at the summit, I
continue to say it now, our commitment is to follow through.
Many of the complaints relate to the biological and/or socioeconomic data your agency uses to set sustainable harvest and
allocation levels. How will you improve data collection?
We received an additional $10 million this year for stock assess-ment-related work to address very specifically some of the priority
data concerns, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. Those efforts are
beginning to yield fruit in some of the scientific work underway
this summer, despite the oil spill. We’re investing in the Marine
Recreational Information Program [MRIP], utilizing the angler registry. One problem with recreational data is that it’s measured in
two-month “waves,” so by the time you get the information, it’s
three months after the fact. To improve that, we’re implementing
Your love for the sea
can get you great
deals on land, too.
or call 1-800-455-2848.
pilot projects to get the data back in a more timely fashion. Another
place we’ve already begun to demonstrate our new commitment
is in the way we’re working to measure and address the economic
impacts of the oil spill to recreational fishing businesses, including
the charter and for-hire operators, as well as tackle shops.
Your agency provides stock abundance and catch data to the
eight Federal Fishery Management Councils that decide how
much of a given fish stock can be caught and by whom (com-
mercial vs. recreational), correct?
Meet The Man From NOAA Fisheries
As NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, Eric
Schwaab heads the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA
Fisheries) and oversees the management and conservation of marine fisheries within U.S. federal waters (set forth
in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Act),
as well as the protection of marine
mammals, sea turtles, and coastal fisheries habitat. Schwaab has more than
25 years experience in natural-resource
management, and came to the post
in February 2010 from the position
of deputy secretary at the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources. He
has a biology degree and a Masters in
PHOTO BY SUZANNAH LYDECKER
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