Access Point Angler Intercept Survey At-a-Glance
The Marine Recreational Information Program uses a suite of surveys to collect information about recreational fishing. The Access Point Angler Intercept Survey gather catch information directly from saltwater anglers.
How does NOAA Fisheries collect information about recreational catch?
From Maine to Mississippi and in Hawaii, state agencies work with the Marine Recreational Information Program to conduct angler interviews at public fishing access sites. These interviews are part of the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS), and inform our estimates of total recreational catch.
To conduct the APAIS, specially trained field interviewers visit marinas, boat ramps, beaches, and piers, and survey anglers as they complete their fishing trips. Interviewers weigh and measure fish that were harvested, and collect information about fish that were released. State agencies coordinate in-person, on-site data collection, while regional fisheries information networks provide data storage and quality control. Interviewers play no role in law enforcement, and must keep the information anglers share confidential.
How do interviewers decide where to go?
Field interviewers are assigned to visit a public fishing access site during a specific time of day. We use standard statistical methods to select sites that will efficiently produce a representative sample of fishing trips.
What is an interviewer's daily assignment like?
Field interviewers conduct surveys during all times of day for the entire length of their six-hour assignment. This means you may see an interviewer at night, or working at a site where fishing activity is variable.
Each sampling assignment includes a date, a time interval, a cluster of one or two sites that should be sampled, and the order in which these sites should be visited.
Why do interviews survey anglers who did not catch any fish?
Our samples need to represent all saltwater fishing trips, regardless of how many fish were caught. If we only sampled trips with fish, our catch estimates would be too high. By sampling as many trips as possible, we can gather information that more accurately reflects the fishing taking place.
Why do interviewers work at sites where fishing activity is low?
Strict adherence to survey design is critical to collecting statistically sound data. This means field interviewers must follow their predetermined schedule until their work for the day is complete.
While field interviewers do not work when the weather poses a threat to their safety, they do work when the weather is bad or when fishing activity is low. Documenting low-activity sites gives us a complete picture of what's happening—or not—on the water.
How many anglers are surveyed each year? What happens to the information they share?
Field interviewers intercept about 111,000 angler trips each year on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and about 2,500 angler trips each year in Hawaii.
Data from our catch surveys are combined with data from our effort surveys to produce an estimate of total recreational catch. These estimates are combined with commercial catch estimates, biological information, and direct observations of fisheries to help scientists assess the health of fish stocks. Through a public process that includes angler input, fisheries managers use these assessments to set fishing regulations that balance access to the resource with maintaining its sustainability.
Why haven't I been interviewed?
With millions of fishing trips taking place each year, it's not possible to intercept every trip that occurs or every angler who fishes. While no two fishing trips are the same, the statistical process that drives the selection of sampling sites ensures the anglers we do interview are representative of the wider recreational fishing community.
Why should I participate more than once?
Even if you've been surveyed before, the unique characteristics of your most recent fishing trip haven't been incorporated into our data. No two fishing trips are alike, and our survey is designed to capture those differences.
How does this survey benefit me?
Our understanding of saltwater recreational catch depends on complete and accurate data provided by recreational anglers. Taking a few minutes to share information about your fishing trip is one of the most important contributions you can make to fisheries science, management, and the sustainability of a great American pastime. When you share information about your fishing trip with field interviewers, you are doing your part to support sustainable fishing opportunities now and for generations to come.