June 12, 2023

CSF Supported Bill to Create NOAA Youth Fishing Program Reintroduced

Article Contact: Taylor Schmitz,

Why It Matters: The surge in fishing and hunting participation during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of our nation’s vast outdoors and abundant natural resources as an opportunity for Americans to reconnect with nature and improve mental and physical health. While most federal agencies responsible for managing our natural resources have programs to introduce the public to the resources they manage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) currently lacks any such program for introducing Americans to recreational fishing.


  • It is estimated that 88% of current fishing participants started fishing before the age of 12, and recreational fishing offers the ideal way to immerse young people in the outdoors, develop an appreciation for nature, and improve physical and mental health.
  • NOAA is one of the few federal land management agencies that currently does not have dedicated programs to connect the public with nature.

On June 8, Representatives Maria Salazar and Sydney Kamlager-Dove and Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Sen.  Roger Wicker and Sen. Maria Cantwell introduced the Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2023, a bill that would establish a grant program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for youth fishing projects. CSF strongly supports the legislation and recently joined members of the recreational fishing and boating community on a letter expressing our appreciation for the bill and the development of the program under NOAA.

While the nation’s coastline represents less than 10% of the contiguous land area in the United States, around 40% of our population lives near the coast. The close proximity of so many Americans to our rich marine and Great Lakes resources provides a perfect opportunity to introduce young people to recreational fishing and instill a deep appreciation of our nation’s marine freshwater environments.

NOAA is the only federal land management agency that does not have a dedicated recreational program to introduce the public to the outdoors. This bill would create another pathway for federal agencies responsible for the management of our natural resources to connect the public with those resources.

“It is hard to truly appreciate our nation’s coastline and marine resources unless you can personally experience it yourself, and there’s no better way to do that than through recreational fishing,” said Chris Horton, Senior Director of Fisheries Policy for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We sincerely thank Representatives Salazar and Kamlager-Dove and Senators Wicker and Cantwell for their leadership in introducing language to establish a long overdue program within NOAA that will introduce young people to all the benefits that saltwater fishing provides.”

Recreational anglers were among the nation’s first conservationists. The Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act will be instrumental in introducing more young people to the outdoors, will help to build upon our nation’s conservation successes, and ensure we have abundant marine and Great Lakes fisheries resources for future generations.

View All news

Back TO All

In Season


Stay current with the latest news, policy activity and how to get involved.

Sign up for Newsletters


Donate today so we can keep fighting for tomorrow!

Donate Now