Whales can become entangled—in fishing gear, lines, or ropes—as they swim through the ocean. Entanglement can injure the whales and impair their ability to eat, swim, and reproduce. Watch as Sarah Wilkin, the NOAA Fisheries National Marine Mammal Stranding and Emergency Response Coordinator, explains how we help to disentangle whales all around the country. For some endangered whales whose populations are very low, like right whales and blue whales, freeing even a small number of whales can help their populations recover.
A message on whales from Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.
I am pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between NOAA Fisheries, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Sportfishing Association, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation at the Miami Boat Show. Saltwater recreational fishing is a staple of coastal communities around the country and, as I have said before, I am proud of the work NOAA Fisheries does to provide opportunities and memorable experiences for saltwater anglers everywhere.
The Agreement, a milestone for NOAA, bolsters public-private sector cooperation promoting sustainable and responsible recreational fishing and boating opportunities in federal waters, including National Marine Sanctuaries. It establishes a formal framework for communication and collaboration on mutually beneficial projects which will help advance NOAA Fisheries’ goals of supporting and promoting sustainable saltwater recreational fisheries for the benefit of the nation. It is one of many collaborative actions, such as the 2018 National Recreational Fisheries Summit, undertaken with anglers to improve life on the water, and I am pleased to partner with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in joining the Agreement. With 98% of Sanctuary waters open to fishing, our national sanctuary system has much to offer anglers.
According to a 2018 study by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation represented 2.2% of the U.S. economy in 2016, with boating and fishing being the largest contributor within the recreational sector of the economy. With the activities of more than 10 million saltwater anglers having supported 472,000 jobs, generated $68 billion in sales impacts, and contributed roughly $39 billion to the Gross Domestic Product that same year, I am enthusiastic about NOAA’s continued collaboration with the recreational sector and support for outdoor recreation as a driver of our Blue Economy. Improving cooperation in planning and implementing projects that promote sustainable long-term recreational boating and fishing opportunities will help anglers and communities realize greater social and economic benefits, and this benefits us all.
I hope to see you out on the water.