A Letter to NOAA on Reauthorizing the National Marine Sanctuaries Act

As president of The Sportfishing Conservancy, I am proud of our following among the recreational fishing community and attribute our success to working on behalf of both fish and anglers.  This balance, which we refer to as "real world conservation" is important not only as more of us exert increasing pressure on marine resources, but also in light of social, political and economic opportunities that our robust numbers can muster in support of conservation.  Key is the ability to work on a two-way street, balancing social cost with environmental benefit.

Much like the work that we do, we are impressed with the undertaking of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries and their balance between today's wise use of our nations marine resources and the Sanctuaries far reaching conservation initiatives that safeguard this privilege for our children.

Congress last reauthorized the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) in 2000, and improvements to this important law are necessary to address growing challenges facing our nation's marine resources.  Scientific understanding makes clear that both fish and fishermen can benefit from a balanced approach to marine protected areas, including the

Sanctuaries, and we strongly support prioritizing in NMSA the marine resource protection that is essential to recreational fishing and coastal communities.


We look forward to NOAA's continued engagement with the sportfishing community as the agency evaluates options for reauthorizing the NMSA in the coming year.  Please consider us an ally.

Tom Raftican

President, The Sportfishing Conservancy



Department of Fish & wildlife