Evening fishing in the Pacific Islands.

Recreational Fishing Data

Collecting Your Data

Recreational anglers provide us with important information about how often they fish (effort) and what they catch per trip (catch rate) through a system of surveys. Many of our surveys are conducted year-round and involve interviews with thousands of anglers. Information from these surveys is combined with other sources of data—including commercial catch, biological research, and direct observation of what's happening in a given fishery—to inform management decisions.

How We Count Your Catch

We need a variety of information to produce estimates of total catch. To gather this data, we use several different surveys, each with a unique and specific purpose, depending on the mode (type) of fishing or region. Most of our current surveys sample for catch rate and effort information separately so that we ensure the most complete and accurate results possible.

Learn more about how we sample anglers 

State and Regional Partners

Our state and regional partners are crucial to accurately and effectively determine recreational fishing activity. The survey data that anglers provide to their state agency representatives are the same data used by us to produce catch estimates. Our partners select the MRIP-certified survey methods most appropriate for their regions and manage the data collection.

Learn more about our partners
See the different surveys currently in use

Types of Surveys

Estimating recreational fishing catch and effort for the entire United States is too complex to be done with a one-size-fits-all survey. We use a suite of different surveys to capture recreational catch and effort from people who fish by different modes. Modes surveyed include fishing from shore, private boats, charter boats, and headboats/party boats. Additional surveys are used to gather data from people who target large pelagic species and highly migratory species such as tuna and billfish.

Learn more about MRIP surveys