The United States has one of the most advanced and successful fishery management systems in the world. In 2015, almost 500 federally managed stocks produced 9.7 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.2 billion, and 61 million saltwater recreational fishing trips landed 351 million fish.[1] The United States is a major player in global fisheries, which are highly traded for processing and consumption. In addition to ranking third among wild-capture fishing nations,[2] we are the world’s largest importer of fish and seafood ($20.5 billion in 2014) and its fourth-largest exporter ($6.3 billion).[3]

Yet despite our position of global leadership on ocean fisheries, many of the information systems and practices upon which our fishermen, anglers, managers, scientists, consumers, and seafood buyers rely are built using technology and practices that are outdated. Only by bringing fishery information systems and practices into the 21st century will we secure the economic and associated societal benefits that healthy fisheries can deliver, including:

  • Stronger Seafood Businesses, with information systems that support the efficiency and competitiveness of American businesses regionally, nationally and abroad.
  • Improved Recreational Access, through real-time data that provide managers with alternatives to strict, inflexible season and bag limits.
  • Better and More Timely Science, by quickly and accurately generating the information needed to support commercial and recreational fishing, and ensuring that management and businesses can adapt effectively to changing environmental and market conditions.
  • Government Efficiency, by eliminating the costs resulting from duplicative, costly systems and processes and increasing transparency and trust with user groups and the public.

[1] National Marine Fisheries Service. 2016. Fisheries of the United States, 2015. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Current Fishery Statistics No. 2015.[2] United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. 2016. World fisheries production, by capture and aquaculture, by country (2014). Fisheries and Aquaculture Department database.[3] Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. 2015. Inside the United States – The Fish and Seafood Trade. Market Access Secretariat Global Analysis Report.