NOAA 2000-126
Contact: Gordon Helm

American Sportfishing Association, International Game Fish Association and BoatU.S. Sign Agreements with NOAA

Stronger partnerships, increased number of angling opportunities, and improving angler education are the goals of three new memorandums of agreement announced this week between top recreational fishing and boating organizations and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. The agreements, signed by NOAA officials and representatives of the American Sportfishing Association, the International Game Fish Association and the Boat Owners Association of the United States, also known as BoatU.S., were announced today at the RecFish 2000 National Symposium in San Diego, Calif.

"NOAA is extremely pleased to announce these new public-private partnerships with such influential advocacy organizations," said NOAA Fisheries director Penny Dalton. "Today's announcement underscores the importance of the marine angling and boating communities. I'm confident that these partnerships will help us further our efforts to sustain and improve our nation's fisheries and marine habitats."

The leaders of each organization endorsed the new agreements and echoed their interest in working jointly with NOAA Fisheries on a variety of marine conservation issues, including increasing angler education and fishing opportunities.

"ASA is proud to be a partner with NOAA Fisheries on their innovative program to improve the health of marine resources and to increase the number of saltwater anglers," said Mike Hayden, president and chief executive officer for the American Sportfishing Association. "Angler's have long been the leaders in the cause of marine aquatic conservation because they know and see first hand when aquatic resources are threatened and are aware that the future of recreational fishing is dependent on a healthy resource."

The new agreement formalizes a relationship between NOAA and the American Sportfishing Association that began in 1996. The most recent cooperative effort between the two organizations was a joint announcement in June that highlighted a new one million dollar partnership agreement between NOAA Fisheries and the association's FishAmerica Foundation. The announcement marked a significant increase in the amount of funding each will dedicate to restoring marine fish habitat across the nation.

The memorandum signed today establishes a policy framework that allows NOAA Fisheries and ASA to develop cooperative programs, including the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, in the marine environment. The tackle loaner program lends fishing equipment to people, especially children, who may otherwise be unable to participate in recreational fishing activities. The tackle loaner program supports NOAA's goal to provide for increased fishing opportunities.

The American Sportfishing Association is an industry trade association dedicated to serving the needs of the entire sportfishing community. The association works to ensure healthy and sustainable fisheries resources and increase sportfishing participation through education, conservation, promotion and marketing.

The memorandum of understanding signed with the International Game Fish
Association, focuses on international efforts to sustain fisheries. IGFA is a
61-year-old nonprofit, membership supported conservation, organization best
known for maintaining world gamefish records in freshwater, saltwater, flyfishing and
junior angler categories. Association members are located in over 125 countries.

"We look forward to a closer working relationship with NOAA Fisheries, said International Game Fish Association President Mike Leech. "There are many opportunities to enhance their outreach efforts with recreational anglers by our organizations combining our efforts."

The new memorandum establishes a policy framework that allows NOAA Fisheries and IGFA to develop cooperative programs that serve common objectives in public outreach and education and the dissemination of scientific data, regarding recreational fishing. The agreement also calls for the two organizations to develop a visiting scientist program.

NOAA officials also highlighted a recently signed memorandum of agreement with BoatU.S., the largest organization of recreational boaters in the world. The new memorandum highlights the importance of working together to promote recreational marine fishing conservation, responsible fishing practices and angler education activities.

"Today's anglers are more sophisticated about fishery management issues than their counterparts of a generation ago," said Richard Schwartz, chairman and chief executive officer for BoatU.S. "This partnership provides an excellent opportunity for BoatU.S. to continue its education of today's anglers and tomorrow's fishermen."

The agreement establishes a framework for the two organizations to develop collaborative programs, including The Ethical Angler. This joint project, which is already under way, is designed to help experienced anglers educate newcomers about responsible fishing practices.

Founded in 1966 to represent the interests of recreational boaters and to promote boating safety, BoatU.S. has over 500,000 members worldwide.

For more information see the following Web sites:
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service -
American Sportfishing Association -
International Game Fish Association -
BoatU.S. -