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MRFSS is out-MRIP is in

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I can no longer bash the mrfss- I hope this new method works!:







Method improves accuracy of recreational fishing catch statistics


January 25, 2012




Recreational fishing. (Credit: NOAA)


NOAA today announced it has begun to use an improved method to estimate the amount of fish caught by saltwater anglers, which will allow rules that fishermen follow to be based on more accurate information.


The method is part of an overall effort to improve the accuracy of recreational catch data collected by the Marine Recreational Information Program, and was developed by a team of NOAA scientists and outside experts.


“The new estimation method is a fundamental change that better reflects what is happening on the water and within the recreational fishing community,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA’s acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management. “Better, more accurate estimates can only be a plus for the saltwater recreational fishing industry, which provides jobs for many Americans and contributes to the economic vitality of our coastal communities.”


The agency today released recalculated estimates going back to 2004 using the new method. There were no overall trends in terms of size or direction of the new estimates; catch estimates for some species go up, some go down, and some remain about the same. To view comparisons of recreational catch estimates using the previous method and the revised method, go to:


“The recreational fishing community has a shared interest in scientifically sound, accurate data and a shared responsibility in making it available,” said Bruce Freeman, a New Jersey recreational fisherman, scientist and member of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association. “With this new estimation method, NOAA is taking an important first step toward the high-quality catch data that many of us have been calling for.”


Using these new estimates, NOAA will now work with the regional fishery management councils, the states, and other stakeholders to integrate these results into fisheries science and management.


Beginning this year, NOAA will use the new method to calculate estimates for the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico for use in fishery management and stock assessment by NOAA, regional fishery management councils and states. Other areas of the country, such as the West Coast, Hawaii, and Alaska, use different survey and estimation methods for saltwater recreational catch. NOAA is working with these regional partners to conduct similar evaluations and, as necessary, implement improvements to their estimation methods.


Another important part of the Marine Recreational Information Program is the National Saltwater Angler Registry, which will help NOAA improve the accuracy of fishing effort estimates by increasing the proportion of fishing households that are surveyed. Additional improvements that will increase the accuracy of the estimates are being developed, including revised dockside survey methods, testing of approaches to improving data timeliness, and use of electronic logbooks in the for-hire vessel sector. To learn more about MRIP, go to:


NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on ********, Twitter and our other social media channels.




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additional info about the mrip





Executive Summary

The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is NOAA Fisheries’ new way of

counting and reporting marine recreational catch and effort. Initiated in 2008, MRIP is a

customer-driven effort that will produce better estimates through a process grounded in the

principles of transparency, accountability and engagement. MRIP replaces an array of data

programs including the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey, or MRFSS.

MRIP is designed to provide the detailed, timely, scientifically sound estimates that fisheries

managers, stock assessors and marine scientists need to ensure the sustainability of ocean

resources, while at the same time addressing stakeholder concerns about the reliability and

credibility of recreational fishing catch and effort estimates. The program is being implemented

in three concurrent phases: Evaluation of current methods, Innovation to identify and test new

methods, and Activation of proven methodologies.

This MRIP Implementation Plan: 2011/2012 Update provides information on MRIP activities

and the status of pilot projects since the last update of the Implementation Plan, which was

issued in October, 2010. Readers may refer to that plan – available online at – as well as other resources available on the site for more

information on the program’s background, priorities, strategy, organization and decision-making


2010-2011 Highlights

A complete description of accomplishments and activities over the past year is included in the

body of this report. Among the major achievements are:

Utilizing the National Saltwater Angler Registry

By October 2011, every state and territory in the nation, with the exceptions of Hawaii, Puerto

Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had implemented their own licensing or registration systems

and established Memoranda of Agreement with NOAA Fisheries to share angler data. This

enables anglers fishing in these so-called exempted states to forgo signing up separately with the

national Registry as long as they are compliant with the laws in the state where they are fishing.

Testing Alternative Effort Survey Approaches

Comprehensive inclusion of all anglers in the National Saltwater Angler Registry will allow

NOAA Fisheries to utilize the Registry as a directory for collecting anglers’ effort or trip data.

Currently, MRIP teams are testing a variety of survey methods that include registry-based

sample frames. Pilot testing of these various approaches will continue through 2012 with a goal

of full-scale Atlantic and Gulf Coast implementation in 2013.

Creating a New Catch Estimation Methodology

NOAA Fisheries scientists, in partnership with leading experts in the field of survey statistics,

have created an improved method for estimating recreational catch using data from the existing

shoreside angler survey known as the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS). The new

methodology addresses a major concern of the National Research Council’s evaluation of

MRFSS; namely, the NRC noted that the MRFSS catch estimation method was not correctly


matched with the sampling design used for the APAIS, leading to potential bias in the estimates.

By eliminating this potential source of bias, the new estimation methodology improves the

accuracy of the catch estimates. Improving the way estimates are calculated is an important first

step in addressing the overall quality of the statistical surveys used for monitoring recreational

fishing catches.

Currently, NOAA Fisheries is in the process of using this improved estimation method to revise

catch estimates for 2004 – 2011 for the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. Upon completion of a rigorous

review of both our new estimation methods as well their potential impact on stock assessments

and management, NOAA anticipates releasing the revised MRIP catch estimates in early 2012.

Improving Collection of Catch Data

In corollary to the improved estimation method, MRIP teams concluded a pilot study in North

Carolina to evaluate a new sampling design for an access point intercept survey that could

provide better coverage of different types of fishing trips and eliminate possible biases

introduced by allowing samplers too much flexibility in the selection of interviewing locations

and time periods. The two projects are inter-related because the new estimation method was

developed to properly account for the probability-based sampling design of the APAIS and the

North Carolina pilot study is aimed at correcting potential sources of bias in the in the sampling

design itself. As described in the chart below, MRIP is challenging the way we’ve done things in

the past through rigorous scientific testing and evaluation of our statistical methods.




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