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NOAA Announcement Confirms Years-Long Concern Regarding Flawed Recreational Fishery Management

BATON ROUGE, LA – For years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forced the management of recreational fishing limits based on an inaccurate federal data collection program. Many states, including Louisiana, have developed their own, more accurate data collection systems. Earlier today, NOAA announced what we all knew to be true: their data was skewed. The announcement confirms that federal data collection efforts overestimated recreational fishing efforts by as much as 30-40 percent for species such as red snapper.

“Fishing is part of our culture. That means two things, we want to be able to fish and we want the fisheries managed in a way that ensures sustainability for our children and grandchildren. For years, we have sounded the alarm that the federal Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) did not provide quality data compared to state-run programs. The MRIP system is fundamentally flawed and we’re glad to see NOAA acknowledge this reality,” Graves said. “We strongly urge NOAA to just defer to state-based data collection and management programs. Local management is the best path forward to preserving our fisheries for the next generation and I look forward to working with NOAA to ensure our anglers have more opportunities in the future.”