Ever look at fishing regulations and think: “What the heck does this mean?”

It turns out you’re not alone if you find sport fishing regulations confusing and want an easier way to access them.  Even ADF&G staff turn to each other, instead of regulations, when fishing in a new place.

ADF&G’s Sport Fish Division surveyed staff and nearly 4,000 randomly selected sport fishing license holders this summer to learn how well anglers understand fishing regulations, how anglers find out what the regs are, and what the ADF&G can do better.  They condensed the results into the 7 recommendations below (though the comments are ours).  We’re excited to help ADF&G share them with you and move them forward.

  1. Reduce and simplify regulations
  2. Rephrase regulations
  3. Significantly rewrite news releases for Emergency Orders

Overall, anglers like you are frustrated because they want to do the right thing, but have trouble figuring out what’s allowed under constantly changing regulations.  In addition to finding ways to reduce the number of regulations, ADF&G can make simple changes to help.  Those recommended include reducing jargon, using positive and active language, and displaying information in a table or with bullet points.

  1. Build a smartphone app
  2. Lower the burden of interpretation

An app could:

  • Contain a legally valid copy of your fishing license so you could stop worrying about that loose piece of paper, a change allowed by the passage of HB 260 this year.
  • Display regulations and emergency orders for your location.
  • Allow app users to track and report their catch for themselves and to supplement the Statewide Harvest Survey.
  • Help anglers sort and filter the information for each fishing experience instead of just parroting the regulation booklet.

Apps are an increasingly popular way to inform and communicate with sport anglers.  For example, Mississippi recently launched its Tails and Scales app to track all sport catch of red snapper, and other Gulf of Mexico states have programs in the works with NOAA.

  1. Continue to improve the regulations booklets and ADF&G website
  2. Support indirect forms of communication

We don’t just find information on ADF&G’s website and in regulation booklets, we find out what’s going on from our friends and neighbors, via e-mail, in the newspaper, and on the radio.  By cultivating other relationships and providing new ways of accessing information, ADF&G would be helping all anglers.

Check out the full survey HERE.