Marine Recreational Fisheries Data
Driven by data provided by recreational anglers and captains, the Marine Recreational Information Program produces better information through better science—which means better fishing for you.
Sustainable fishing begins and ends with fishermen. Recreational anglers support the long-term health of ocean fisheries by serving as our eyes and ears on the water and sharing information on their fishing activities. NOAA Fisheries works with state and local partners through the Marine Recreational Information Program to count and report this information. Through MRIP, we develop, improve, and implement surveys that measure how many trips saltwater anglers take and how many fish they catch. This vital information—combined with other data such as commercial catch and biological research—enables scientists and managers to assess and maintain sustainable U.S. fish stocks.
Our partners conduct in-person surveys of recreational anglers at public access fishing sites in 19 states and territories. Explore the Public Accessing Fishing Site Register for detailed information about every publicly accessible fishing site including marinas, boat ramps, piers, beaches, and jetties.
In 2015, approximately 9 million recreational saltwater anglers took 61 million saltwater fishing trips around the United States. The number of trips taken (or effort) is an important measurement used by our program to determine total catch estimates each year.
Effectively safeguarding our ocean resources requires the cooperation of a broad network of people, including recreational anglers. The Marine Recreational Information Program works closely with recreational anglers and other stakeholders to collect accurate and reliable information critical to ensuring healthy fish stocks and vibrant coastal communities.
Better data means better fishing for you! You play a critical role in helping inform fishery management decisions when you share how often you fish (your effort) and what you catch per trip (your catch rate).
Our state and regional partners are the backbone of the data collection effort and most often serve as the primary connection between NOAA Fisheries and recreational anglers. We use the information gathered by our state and regional partners to calculate estimates.
Have you ever wondered how our scientists use your data to estimate stocks? One of our goals is to be transparent about the concepts and methods we use to design surveys that count angler catch, why we use them, and how they work.
Our data is your data and can be used in valuable ways by our partners, recreational anglers, and others interested in the information we use to produce recreational fishing estimates. We also provide insight on how to use our data tools and some of the data’s limitations.
We are continuously working to improve how we collect, analyze, and report information. By improving current methods and developing new ones, our program supports the monitoring tools needed to accurately track fishing catch and effort in each region.
The Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) consists of a national network of regional surveys that collect important information from anglers and for-hire operators. Information from these surveys is combined with commercial catch data, biological research, and direct observations of fisheries to help scientists and managers assess and maintain sustainable U.S. fish stocks now and for generations to come.
From in-person interviews to electronic reporting, different methods of data collection help us gather information about recreational fishing.
To estimate recreational catch for the entire United States, we use a suite of surveys to collect information from anglers and for-hire operators. We pair general surveys—which provide annual catch estimates for all species encountered—with supplemental and specialized surveys—which collect data for select fisheries or during select fishing seasons—to develop more comprehensive recreational fisheries statistics.
State and regional partners provide vital support of our efforts to accurately and effectively estimate total recreational catch. The information anglers and for-hire operators provide state agency and other NOAA Fisheries representatives is the information we use to estimate catch.
The Marine Recreational Information Program strives to be transparent about its work to collect recreational fishing data and produce recreational catch statistics.
Sampling allows us to collect information from part of a population to determine the characteristics of an entire population. Sampling populations, calculating weighted estimates, and preventing and accounting for errors are important steps in our work to produce recreational catch statistics.
Learn more about survey statistics
To estimate total recreational catch, we multiply catch rate—or the number of fish caught per fishing trip—by effort—or the total number of fishing trips taken. To estimate catch rate and effort, we use a statistical method known as weighted estimation. Weighted estimation ensures important aspects of our sample design—like the fact that some fishing sites are more likely to be selected as a sample location or some anglers are more likely to participate in a fishing survey—are correctly reflected in our final estimates. This approach is necessary to produce unbiased estimates from the catch and effort data collected through our recreational fishing surveys.
The Marine Recreational Information Program works with state and regional partners to collect recreational fishing data throughout the year.
There are several ways to access the information we use to estimate recreational fishing activity. You can download full datasets and statistical analysis software template programs, or use our query tool to filter catch, effort, and participation data by time series, geographic area, species, mode, and other characteristics.
Recreational catch estimates are combined with commercial catch estimates, biological information, and direct observations of fisheries to help scientists assess the health of fish stocks. Stock assessments produce reports that help fisheries managers set rules and regulations to protect the sustainability of stocks now and for generations to come.
We are continually working to improve how we collect, analyze, and report information. Through improvements to current methods, the development of new approaches, and the integration of emerging technologies, the Marine Recreational Information Program supports the monitoring tools needed to accurately track fishing catch and effort in each region.
To ensure the highest quality data for use in fisheries management, we work with our partners in a continual process to develop and implement improvements. The process produces recommended changes that adhere to rigorous national standards, while remaining flexible enough to meet unique regional needs.
Our success is based on vital input from our state and regional partners, stakeholders, and external reviews. To ensure that management decisions are made with the most accurate information possible, we are committed to ongoing improvements to our survey and estimation methods.
Since 2008, the program has funded survey improvement projects and survey program reviews in all regions of the U.S. and its territories. Projects include using electronic reporting tools, improving effort estimates via mail surveys, and increasing the precision of estimates.
To promote nationwide consistency in recreational catch and effort data, we use a rigorous certification process for assuring that survey and estimation methods are scientifically sound. Once certified, the method is available for potential funding and use by our state and regional partners.
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