NOAA 2000-053
Contact: Kate Naughten


NOAA Fisheries and the American Sportfishing Association today announced a significant increase in the amount of funding each will dedicate to the restoration of marine fish habitat across the nation. The announcement, made during a National Fishing Week event in Washington, D.C., highlighted a new one million dollar partnership agreement between NOAA Fisheries and the association's FishAmerica Foundation.

"Degradation and loss of habitat is one of the leading causes of declining fish stocks. NOAA's partnership with the American Sportfishing Association over the past three years has witnessed a tremendous growth in dedicated funding for the improvement of recreational fish habitat, from $100,000 in 1998 to $1,000,000 this year. We are very pleased to be engaged in such a productive partnership," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Sally J. Yozell.

At the event, officials released a list of 28 community-based habitat restoration projects to be funded this summer under the NOAA-FishAmerica partnership. Projects range from the installation of a fish ladder in New Hampshire, to the creation of wetlands in Florida, to the restoration of river habitat in Alaska. Officials also stressed that local organizations leveraged approximately five dollars in additional public and private funding for every dollar invested by the partnership.

"The American Sportfishing Association cares deeply about each on-the-ground
restoration project, each sport fishery whose future is in doubt and each community whose economic health is threatened," said American Sportfishing Association President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Hayden. "By listening carefully to the communities who best know the local environment, our partnership with NOAA will strategically repair many of our nation's most precious coastal resources."

NOAA provides federal support for the partnership through its Community-Based Restoration Program. The program, which is part of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, has been working with community organizations to support effective habitat restoration projects in marine, estuarine and riparian areas since 1996. NOAA Restoration Center staff work closely with communities to aid in project development and implementation. Projects are monitored and maintained by communities, promoting stewardship and a heightened appreciation for the environment and its well-being.

"More and more of our communities are working with us to become active stewards in the restoration of local marine habitat. This strong momentum for public-private partnerships is good news for fish and for coastal communities nationwide," said NOAA Fisheries Director Penny Dalton.

The FishAmerica Foundation, the conservation arm of the American Sportfishing Association, helps industry and citizens enhance fishery resources. In the past 17 years, FishAmerica has received donations from tackle manufacturers, boat and engine companies, fishing tournaments and individuals that have enabled it to fund 562 fisheries enhancement projects valued at $3.6 million in all 50 states and Canada. FishAmerica grant recipients have donated more than a million volunteer hours to improve the fisheries resource. FishAmerica's funding for this partnership is provided by the American Sportfishing Association, Grady-White Boats, Mercury Marine, WalMart Sporting Goods, Zebco, Outdoor Cap and the Northeast Tackle and Gun Reps.