NOAA Fisheries’ Division of Highly Migratory Species, the regulatory body for billfish, swordfish and other highly migratory species, began a twofold survey of both tournament operators and participants in March 2016 that will run through February 2017. The survey is important to the entire recreational-fishing community because it will allow the government to directly attribute the amount of socio-economic benefit generated by tournament anglers.
Participation is completely voluntary, but contributing to the survey is vital to its success. Over the years, similar studies by The Billfish Foundation have been instrumental in demonstrating the importance of socio-economic data during management decisions. Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation, says, “Survey results should verify what we have told the government for years: Billfishing is a strong industry, which contributes substantial economic returns to the surrounding communities.”
NMFS will send surveys to the tournament directors of all registered HMS tournaments. NMFS will randomly select about half of these tournaments to survey the participants fishing in each event as well. The survey can be completed electronically, so please take a few minutes to provide this valuable information.