A 2004 report by the National Research Council (NRC) titled Improving the Use of the “Best Scientific Information Available” Standard in Fisheries Management called on the National Marine Fisheries Service to implement important guidelines for use of scientific information in preparing fishery management plans. The NRC report went on to state that “anecdotal” information like that available from the recreational fishing industry in terms of fuel and tackle sales as examples should be acknowledged and evaluated during the scientific process, particularly in terms of helping validate other sources of information currently being used to survey the recreational harvest of coastal fishes.
Nearly five years after the NRC’s official results proved that the current approach to statistical analysis in the recreational sector is wrought with “serious flaws in design or implementation” and uses “inadequate analysis methods that need to be addressed immediately,” the National Marine Fisheries Service is still using the same “fatally flawed” data as the “best available” science within the recreational sector.
As the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) points out, when you couple this faulty science with arbitrary rebuilding deadlines required under federal law, it’s a recipe for disaster that’s denying anglers access to America’s No. 1 outdoor pastime while leading to a financial collapse within coastal communities nationwide.
The federal fisheries service’s inability to implement these congressionally mandated changes coming from the scientific community is having a grave impact on the entire marine industry. As boat, motor and marine manufacturers and dealers weather the continuing economic storm, the RFA warns it’s time to brace for a new round of gloomy NOAA advisories.
Click here for the full text of Hutchinson’s position paper/treatise.
Jim Hutchinson Jr.
Recreational Fishing Alliance