Pacific Coast Recreational Fisheries Information Network Teams With NOAA, Outlines Plan For California Fishing Management

The following is courtesy of NOAA West Coast Fisheries:

A sampler with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife measures a Pacific halibut as part of the California Recreational Fisheries Survey.

The Pacific Coast Recreational Fisheries Information Network (RecFIN) has released its plan
outlining regional priorities for the next several years to enhance data for recreational fishing
management and science along the West Coast.

“We rely on the local knowledge and expertise of our partners like RecFIN to help identify their
unique needs, so our recreational fishing data collection partnership can best prioritize
opportunities for support nationwide,” said Evan Howell, NOAA Fisheries, director of the Office
of Science and Technology. “Regional implementation plans like this one underscore the
importance of working together to improve how we collect and manage data to best inform stock
assessments and sustainable fisheries management.”

This plan was developed collaboratively by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission,
RecFIN, and the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. We work with the Commission
and two other interstate marine fisheries commissions on cross-state items related to shared
fishery resources. The Commission manages RecFIN, which collects, processes, analyzes, and
reports statistics for fisheries along the West Coast.

The plan will help guide our allocation of resources to best address the data needs of regional
fishery stock assessors and managers. We use these regional plans to develop a national
inventory of partner needs and associated costs, and set priorities for supporting these needs.

”We are very appreciative of the successful partnership we have with NOAA Fisheries and the
states of California, Oregon, and Washington in collaboratively managing data on the Pacific
Coast recreational fishery,” said Chris Wheaton, Commission senior program manager. “We
know this regional partnership process works based on improvements made through our first
regional implementation plan.”

This is RecFIN’s first update to their original plan.

RecFIN West Coast Recreational Fishing Data Priorities at a Glance

  • Maintain current survey sampling levels and restore base levels of sampling, including new funding for NOAA Fisheries-certified programs
  • Implement and support enhanced electronic data collection by survey field samplers
  • Increase onboard sampling of commercial passenger fishing vessels or recreational charter boats
  • Investigate and maintain video-based methods and technology to estimate fishing effort
  • Stratify party and charter boat sampling by trip type and sampling period for Southern California
  • Improve access to NOAA Fisheries’ survey database
  • Calibrate, or rescale, historic state catch estimates based on updated information
  • Update state survey designs, estimation methods, and data system to meet NOAA Fisheries’ recreational fishing data collection program’s survey and data standards
  • Continue progress on NOAA Fisheries’ certification for all state recreational fishing surveys to ensure surveys are statistically valid to meet objectives and provide key estimates
  • Continue ongoing improvements to the RecFIN database and reporting system and modernize data transfer
  • Expand California’s sampling for collection and processing to determine the age of recreationally caught groundfish
  • Increase support for additional personnel to help determine the age of recreationally caught groundfish
  • Improve outreach activities and educational materials for the Pacific coast sportfishing community

”Implementation of these priorities in the years ahead will allow improved data quality and
decision making, as fisheries managers often confront challenging conditions and a changing
ocean environment,” said Wheaton.