Pew Using Junk Science to Attack Recreational Anglers

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) condemns the latest report initiated and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts titled “The Impact of United States Recreational Fisheries on Marine Fish Populations” as nothing more than junk science.

“Pew and the researchers they fund have reached a new low in their efforts to force arbitrary no-fishing zones on the recreational fishing public,” said Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the RFA. “This latest report brings absolutely nothing to the table to help advance marine conservation.”

The report, compiled by Pew funded researchers from Florida State, Duke and Ohio Universities, purports that recreational fishing is largely unregulated, and has a much greater impact on fisheries than was previously believed.


The study is based on an erroneous premise – that there is a perception that recreational fishing does not have an impact on fish stocks,” said Dr. Michael Sissenwine, Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor for NOAA Fisheries in an article published by Environmental News Service.

Fishery managers and policymakers are aware of the impact of recreational fishing on individual stocks, Sissenwine said, and consider that impact when making management decisions on allocations and restrictions.

“I do not think the study offers anything to the science or to the fisheries management of fish stocks,” said Dr. Sissenwine.


“This paper has little to do with science and everything to do with the political motives of Pew,” said Mr. Donofrio. “This paper will certainly end up in the briefing folders of Pew funded lobbyists who are seeking to block the passage of the Freedom to Fish Acts and establish no-fishing zones. However, we are confident that those familiar with fisheries management will treat this paper as ‘garbage in – garbage out’,” said Mr. Donofrio.


The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation’s saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 1-888-JOIN-RFA.


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