Welcome aboard, Chris Oliver! We look forward to working with Mr. Oliver as he leads the National Marine Fisheries Service.
We are anxious to work with Mr. Oliver to ensure America’s public resources remain public. Coastal communities, manufacturers in the heartland, and 11 million individual saltwater recreational anglers are depending on him to lead the Agency in a way that is transparent and that fosters better public access, consistent and fair fishing regulations, and healthy natural marine resources available for future generations.
Based on Mr. Oliver’s depth of experience in fisheries management, we are hopeful that he will develop a fisheries management policy recognizing the true economic impacts of the recreational fishing sector. According to Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2015, the recreational sector has an economic impact of $63.4 billion versus the domestic commercial sector at $13.9 billion.
We are hopeful that when filling the Regional Fishery Management Councils, Mr. Oliver will guide explicit balance of interests in their composition. His attention is greatly needed in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions. More than half of all saltwater fishing trips in the U.S. take place in the Southeast and most of these trips are taken by private anglers on privately owned boats, rather than charter boats. Furthermore, there are almost twice as many jobs supported in this region by recreational fishing (165,118) than commercial fishing (93,916), according to FEUS 2015. Despite these facts, only three of the 34 seats combined on the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils are currently held by private recreational anglers representing themselves.
We are hopeful Mr. Oliver will work with the Congress and recreational fishing stakeholders to advance the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017. The Modern Fish Act will bring parity to recreational and commercial fishing by making critical changes to federal fisheries laws that were never designed to manage recreational fishing.