Issues: Fisheries


Our ocean and coastal resources are threatened by a growing number of proposed activities and pressures ranging from energy development and habitat loss to commercial and recreational fishing pressure. The TRCP strives to balance the multiple and competing uses while conserving these vital resources.


The TRCP engages in strategic projects that address key issues and injects the voice of the recreational angling community into the federal policy process. We recognize the importance of thoughtful discussion of the policy issues affecting saltwater sportsmen and educating others about the great recreational and economic benefits provided by our marine resources. In this light, we have been successful in bringing our partners together to provide the sportsman’s perspective on marine fisheries issues.

In 2013, TRCP worked closely with its sportfishing partners to convene a panel of fisheries biologists, economists, conservationists and managers to discuss the most pressing sportsmen-related fisheries management issues as Congress works toward the reauthorization of the Magnusson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which governs the nation's marine fisheries. Co-chaired by Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris and Scott Deal, owner and president of Maverick, Cobia, Pathfinder and Hewes Boats, the panel’s findings have been released in "A Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries," a landmark report that will help guide fisheries management decisions made at the highest levels.

Throughout 2013, the TRCP also worked closely with the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation and Coastal Conservation Association to convene workshops in all five Gulf of Mexico states to discuss priority projects that will improve recreational fishing habitat and access in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Those recommendations have been released in a report titled “Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries: Recommendations for Restoration, Recovery and Sustainability” which has been widely acclaimed by conservation organizations and state and federal fisheries and habitat management agencies.

As habitat and economic restoration dollars from spill settlements begin making their way to the Gulf, the TRCP and its partners are working to ensure the needs of the region’s economically and culturally-vital recreational fishing community are fairly addressed.

During the spring of 2011, the TRCP worked with these same partners and other groups and individuals to organize a series of workshops along the Gulf Coast to gather input from recreational fishermen and businesses affected by the spill. That input became the basis for the report: Gulf Spill Recreational Fishing Response Group: Recommendations for Resource Recovery. The recommendations outline the broad consensus priorities that participants believe should be made to restore the quantity and quality of recreational fishing opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico.

The TRCP will convene its fourth-annual Saltwater Media Summit in October 2014 in Fort Myers/Sanibel on Florida’s Gulf Coast. This year’s summit follows a very successful 2013 summit in Key Largo and Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Considered by many the “Sportfishing Capital of the World,” Islamorada provided the perfect setting to bring together national and international writers, policy makers, fisheries managers, business leaders and scientists to discuss the state of marine recreational fishing and its future.

Finally, for the last two years, the TRCP has convened a group of recreational fishing, environmental and conservation groups to help guide public policy surrounding saltwater angling and marine fisheries conservation. Known as the Fish Collaborative, the group is responsible for developing common-sense policy solutions to issues facing marine recreational fishing.


The TRCP continues to provide a voice for the saltwater recreational angling community in policy efforts and decision making in Washington, D.C. We joined a chorus of those supporting restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast for passage in Congress of the RESTORE Act. Inserted as provision of the federal transportation bill, the RESTORE Act successfully survived both the House and Senate debate thanks to the hard work of many sportsmen and conservation groups’ efforts. The RESTORE Act was signed into law in July 2012, and as a result 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties that will be assessed to BP will be directed to where they are needed most: the five Gulf states that were impacted by the spill.

The TRCP also has followed the federal damage assessment process in the Gulf and sought to inject the priorities from our 2011 report into the decision making. This will continue with our five Gulf workshops convened in 2013 and the Gulf fisheries restoration report.

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Creating more than $34 billion in annual economic activity, marine fishing is not only an important part of America’s outdoor heritage, but a significant economic contributor as well.

Geoff Mullins

Chief Operating and Communications Officer