Fisheries Policy

The world of modern fisheries management is a complex and oftentimes contentious environment. Many of our favorite recreational fisheries are imperiled due to habitat degradation and commercial overfishing. Sadly, recreational fishing interests often take a backseat to commercial fishing practices. Thus, it is vital that recreational anglers are represented during the fisheries management decision making process. Fisheries managers need to be shown that recreational fishing is a growing and vibrant entity of its own that has considerable participation and economic impact globally. This cannot be done without active participation in the fisheries management process.

From working to eliminate destructive fishing gear to advocating for sustainable fisheries management, the IGFA and its international network work ardently to ensure that recreational anglers are represented and the game fish we revere are sustainably managed.

Reps. Huffman and Case Introduce Bill to Reauthorize Nation’s Primary Fishing Law

July 27, 2021
Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Ed Case (D-Hawaii) introduced the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), America’s primary law governing marine fisheries. MSA has not been reauthorized since 2006. The recreational fishing community commends Reps. Huffman and Case for their thorough approach to drafting the legislation, which included stakeholder roundtables on each coast and the invitation to stakeholders to provide input on the discussion draft of the bill.

Addressing the Depleted Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Stock

June, 2021
In 2014, the IGFA was involved in the development of Amendment 7 to the Consolidated Atlantic HMS Fishery Management Plan to address the depleted western Atlantic bluefin tuna stock. This amendment implemented a variety of actions to limit overfishing and conserve the bluefin stock including designating two new Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs) that prohibited longlining during the spring in the Gulf of Mexico when peak bluefin spawning occurs. In April 2020, NOAA Fisheries announced a rule that converted these GRAs into monitoring areas, effectively reopening this critical location to pelagic longlining once again. The GRAs have been highly successful at reducing mortality of spawning bluefin and removing them puts the depleted western Atlantic bluefin stock at unnecessary risk. A coalition including IGFA and a large number of scientific, environmental, and industry organizations recently submitted a letter to NOAA expressing opposition to reopening the GRAs to pelagic longlining.

Western and Northern Pacific Ocean Striped Marlin

June, 2021
The IGFA and a coalition of stakeholder organizations sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries to express support for the United States’ continued commitment to negotiating strong international conservation measures for Western and Central North Pacific Ocean (WCNPO) striped marlin. These measures are necessary to replenish the spawning stock and restore opportunities for small-boat and recreational fishers in Hawaii and the eastern Pacific. 

IGFA Helps Establish First Recreational Angling Regulations in Colombia

May, 2021
Several IGFA Representatives from Colombia and members of the IGFA South America Regional Council, Pedro Rodríguez, Carlos Heinsohn, and Alejandro Linares, along with other important recreational fishing industry players in the country, recently presented a proposal for the establishment of recreational angling regulations to the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Authority (AUNAP).  

Leading Recreational Fishing Organizations Unite to Protect a Critical Spawning Aggregation

February, 2021
Commissioners of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the final rule to implement a seasonal fishing closure in a one square-mile section of the Western Dry Rocks off the Florida Keys from April 1 to July 31. This important decision will protect the peak spawning seasons of some of the most important recreational and commercial species in Florida including permit, and multiple snapper and grouper species.

A Bipartisan Win for Gulf Reef Fish Conservation

January, 2021
A step forward for reef fish conservation in the Gulf of Mexico was made as H.R. 5126, the Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices Act (DESCEND) was signed into law. This law will now require the use of descending devices or venting tools while fishing for reef fish in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and includes both recreational and commercial hook and line fisheries.

Bristol Bay Pebble Mine Rejected

December, 2020
On November 25th, the Trump Administration rejected the permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The Pebble Mine, a proposed massive copper and gold mine, has been a hot topic in Alaska and federally for many years with the EPA prepared to veto the project back in 2014 before it was reversed four years later.(click title to read more)

Outlining Several Good Fisheries Provisions

November 30, 2020
A coalition, including IGFA, sent a letter to House and Senate appropriators outlining several good fisheries provisions that were included in the FY21 Senate CJS bill report. (click title to read more)

Expressing Support for a Rebuilding Plan for Western and Central North Pacific Ocean (WCNPO) Striped Marlin

November 24, 2020
The IGFA, and a coalition of stakeholders, sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries expressing support for a rebuilding plan for Western and Central North Pacific Ocean (WCNPO) striped marlin. (click title to read more)

 S. 906, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act

November 24, 2020
A letter was sent from a coalition of stakeholders, including IGFA, requesting the U.S. lead and support efforts to lower the 2021 Western Atlantic bluefin tuna catch limit to 1785 tons per year. Available science suggests this decrease in catch would end overfishing with an approximately 60% probability. (click title to read more)

Support Efforts to Lower the 2021 Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Catch Limit

October 21, 2020
A letter was sent from a coalition of stakeholders, including IGFA, requesting the U.S. lead and support efforts to lower the 2021 Western Atlantic bluefin tuna catch limit to 1785 tons per year. Available science suggests this decrease in catch would end overfishing with an approximately 60% probability. (click title to read more)

Urging Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission To Vote for a Limit to the Total Allowable Catch in 2021-2022 of Menhaden

October 16, 2020
The IGFA, along with a coalition of stakeholders, sent a letter to the Florida delegation of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission urging them to vote for a limit to the total allowable catch in 2021-2022 of menhaden. In August 2020, the commission voted to adopt ecological reference points for Atlantic menhaden and the letter urges the commission to implement the newly developed system by setting catch limits.  (click title to read more)

Add Bullet Mackerel (Auxis rochei) and Frigate Mackerel (Auxis thazard) to the Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment

October 2, 2020
IGFA and a coalition of forage fish stakeholders sent a letter to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council urging them to advance their commitment to forage fish by pursuing a framework action to add bullet mackerel (Auxis rochei) and frigate mackerel (Auxis thazard) to the Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment in the 2021 Implementation Plan. (click title to read more)

H.R. 5126, Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices Act of 2020

September 29, 2020
IGFA and a coalition of fishing and boating organizations sent a letter to House members urging the passing of H.R. 5126, Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices Act of 2020. The DESCEND Act would require reef fish anglers in the Gulf of Mexico to possess devices that aid fish in overcoming the effects of barotrauma and would be a major step in the right direction to improving discard mortality of red snapper and other reef fish. (click title to read more)

No Action on the Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to Fish with Longline Gear in the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

September 9, 2020
The IGFA, along with Wild Oceans, American Sportfishing Association, and the Coastal Conservation Association of California sent a letter to the NOAA Fisheries requesting support for No Action on an exempted fishing permit to fish with longline gear in the west coast exclusive economic zone. The letter further urges NOAA and NMFS to test, develop, and authorize new alternatives to high bycatch fisheries such as deep-set buoy gear which is a more sustainable alternative.(click title to read more)

30 X 30 Global Conservation Initiative

September, 2020
Over the past several months, the global conservation initiative known as 30 by 30 has made many headlines. This initiative, which seeks to protect 30% of the planet (land and ocean) by 2030, was developed by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in an effort to conserve biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. (click title to read more)

Great News for Atlantic Menhaden

August 5, 2020
Great news for menhaden, arguably one of the world’s most important species of forage fish!  On August 5th, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted unanimously to implement Ecological Reference Points (ERPs) for Atlantic menhaden.  (click title to read more)

Pebble Mine and the Fate of the World's Largest Salmon Runs

July, 2020
The pristine rivers, wetlands and lakes that flow into Bristol Bay, Alaska produce the largest wild salmon runs on earth.  Each year up to 60 million salmon return, including half of the world’s sockeye salmon and the largest remaining Chinook salmon runs known. (click title to read more)

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Requesting Implementation of Ecological Reference Points for Atlantic Menhaden

July 16, 2020
A coalition of more than 80 organizations and businesses, including IGFA, sent a letter to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission requesting implementation of ecological reference points for Atlantic menhaden. The letter points out the critical role menhaden play as forage fish for a variety of our beloved game fish and the importance of well managed forage fish species for coastal communities..  (click title to read more)

Florida Governor Signs Bill Designating Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve

June 29, 2020
On June 29th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation (HB 1061), creating the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve (AP) in Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties following an outpouring of support from local businesses, county commissioners, conservation groups, and recreational and marine industry organizations. (click title to read more)

Say NO to AB 3030!

July, 2020
The International Game Fishing Association requests that you express concern over recent legislature in the State of California known as the AB 3030 bill. This bill seeks to protect 30% of California’s state waters and lands, with the overall goal of protecting 30% of the entire country’s oceans by the year 2030 . (click title to read more)

Recreational Fishing Community Applauds South Atlantic Descending Device Requirement Effective July 15

June, 2020
NOAA Fisheries issued the final rule requiring descending devices to be rigged and ready for use onboard all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species in South Atlantic federal waters. The rule will go into effect on July 15, 2020, for all commercial, for-hire and private recreational vessels. (click title to read more)

Tell Army Corps of Engineers to Deny the Clean Water Act 404 Permit for the Proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska

May 12, 2020
A coalition, including IGFA, representing hundreds of thousands of businesses, anglers, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts sent a letter to President Trump urging him to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the Clean Water Act 404 permit for the proposed Pebble mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. If built, the mine would immediately jeopardize thousands of American jobs, hundreds of businesses, and put the fishing and hunting paradise that is Bristol Bay at great risk. . (click title to read more)

Support of Amendment 29 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Fishery Region

April 27, 2020
A coalition of angling, boating, and conservation organizations, including IGFA, sent a letter to the Southeast Regional Office of NMFS in support of Amendment 29 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Fishery Region (NOAA-NMFS-2020-0008). This Amendment would modify gear requirements to promote best fishing practices through a requirement to possess and use descending devices in fish that show signs of barotrauma. (click title to read more)

Fisheries of the United Stated, 2018 Report

April, 2020
Each fall, NOAA Fisheries publishes the Fisheries of the United States Report for the previous year and has been doing so for over 100 years. The report provides a snapshot of statistics on recreational and commercial fisheries, landings and value throughout the United States. (click title to read more)

New Rule Puts Spawning Bluefin Tuna at Risk

March, 2020
Seven years ago, the IGFA, working alongside the American Bluefin Tuna Association and the Pew Charitable Trusts, advocated for time/area closures that would protect spawning western Atlantic bluefin tuna from longlining in the Gulf of Mexico. (click title to read more)

Save our Seagrass

February, 2020
The IGFA has spearheaded a coalition of leading recreational angling and manufacturing organizations including the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Sport Fishing Association, Florida Coastal Conservation Association, Captains for Clean Water, Wild Oceans, the Angler Action Foundation, Chittum Skiffs and Maverick Boat Group to support legislation that would create a new Florida Aquatic Preserve. (click title to read more)

The Pacific Fishery Management Council Votes to Not Consider a New West Coast Longline Fishery

December, 2019
Thanks to a tremendous show of support by the recreational fishing community, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) voted not to proceed with permitting a longline fishery outside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.  (click title to read more)

New Conservation Measures for Atlantic Marlin

December, 2019
At its recent annual meeting held in November, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) adopted measures aimed at rebuilding blue and white marlin stocks.  (click title to read more)

Say NO to Developing a Longline Fishery on the United States West Coast

November, 2019
We’ve seen some major wins for pelagic fisheries operating out of the West Coast of the United States over the last year.  First, was a California State bill that was signed last year that will ban the use of drift gillnets in California waters by 2023.  (click title to read more)

Deep-set Buoy Gear Improves Commercial Harvesting

October, 2019
During its September meeting, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) unanimously passed a motion to authorize deep-set buoy gear as a new way to commercially harvest swordfish. (click title to read more)

Tell NOAA Not to Reserve Conservation Measures for Atlantic Bluefin

September, 2019
Western Atlantic bluefin tuna populations have been severely depleted since the 1960s. The species can live up to 35 years, doesn’t reach sexual maturity until age 10, reproduces in discrete spawning locations and fetches exceptionally high market prices—all of which make it very susceptible to commercial overexploitation. (click title to read more)

New Research Sheds Light on Black, Striped and White Marlin Population Structure

April, 2019
Understanding billfish population structure is critical for effective fisheries management.  Management plans that focus on distinct populations may be more effective than plans predicated on a single species stock.  However, until recently, limited information existed on the number of and geographic size of populations for several species of billfish. (click title to read more)

The Many Moving Parts of Banning Gillnets

February, 2019
As many IGFA members know, for the last four years the IGFA has been working with a number of like-minded recreational and environmental organizations to phase out destructive drift gillnets in the United States west coast swordfish fishery and replace them with sustainable deep-set buoy gear. (click title to read more)

The Caribbean Billfish Management Plan

February, 2019
The recently published Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation Plan is the product of three years’ worth of work spearheaded by the IGFA to address unsustainable management practices of billfish stocks in the Western Central Atlantic.  (click title to read more)

Lawmakers Send Governor Brown Bill to End Drift Gillnets

September 21, 2018
Sacramento, CA. – The California legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Bill to end commercial drift gillnet fishing and sent it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. Senate Bill (SB) 1017 phases out the use of mile-long nets that drift in the open ocean, compensates drift gillnet fishermen, and encourages a transition to innovative new swordfishing gear.. (click title to read more)

Signature request SB 1017

September 04, 2018
Dear Governor Brown,
On behalf of the above organizations, we respectfully ask for your signature on SB 1017 (Allen). SB 1017 phases out the use of mile-long nets that drift in the open ocean, compensates drift gillnet fishermen, and encourages a transition to innovative, new swordfishing gear. (click title to read more)

Agenda Item H.6: Swordfish Management and Monitoring Plan

August 27, 2018
We ask the Council to adopt a Plan that prioritizes the authorization of actively tended swordfish gear to maximize the economic value of Pacific swordfish while minimizing bycatch, the ecological footprint and management costs and oversight.. (click here to read more)

Final Recommendations on Non‐Deep‐Set Buoy Gear Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs)

August 25, 2018
Dear Mr. Anderson,
As leading recreational fishing and boating organizations, we wish to express our concern over the Council’s consideration of an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application for deep-set longline gear within the EEZ off of California, Washington and Oregon. (click title to read more)

S. 2773, The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act

July 23, 2018
Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson,
Drift gillnets are an unsustainable and outdated form of fishing gear that has been banned throughout the United States, with the exception of the California swordfish fishery. These nets incur intolerable levels of unintended bycatch and the fewer than 30 vessels participating in the fishery kill more dolphins, porpoises and whales than all other fisheries on the U.S. West Coast and Alaska combined. (click title to read more)

A Review of the California Drift Gillnet Fishery

July 01, 2018
Drift gillnets (DGN) are often deployed in marine waters off the U.S. West Coast, primarily in federal waters adjacent to California, to harvest swordfish and other high-value food fish. This paper examines the economic characteristics and trends associated with the West coast DGN fishery and compares these trends and economic characteristics to other methods frequently used to harvest swordfish. (click title to read more)

State and Federal Legislation on Drift Gillnets

May 11, 2018
Dear Senator Allen,
I am a lifelong and passionate recreational angler and conservationist residing in Laguna Niguel, California. Ever since witnessing the introduction of drift gill nets to California waters in the 1980s, I have been incredibly concerned about the amount of bycatch produced by this indiscriminant fishing gear. (click title to read more)

New Legislation Promotes Innovative New Fishing Gear

May 01, 2018
Wild Oceans, the International Game Fish Association, Coastal Conservation Association of California and American Sportfishing Association have been working together to promote a transition away from drift nets – to safer, more selective fishing methods for swordfish, tuna and other commercial species. (Click title to learn more)