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.
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
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 partnersSee the different surveys currently in use
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
Authority: The collection of this information is authorized under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852 et. seq.) and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975.
Purpose: Collection of recreational fisheries...
Each year NOAA Fisheries compiles key fisheries statistics from the previous year into an annual snapshot documenting fishing’s importance to the nation. The 2016 report provides landings totals for both domestic recreational and commercial fisheries by species and allows us to track important indicators such as annual seafood consumption and the productivity of top fishing ports. These statistics provide valuable insights — but to fully understand the overall condition of our fisheries, they must be looked at in combination with other biological, social, and economic factors of ecosystem and ocean health.
We conduct a wide range of surveys and associated economic analyses to assess the costs and benefits of fisheries management decisions. These analyses directly support our stewardship goal of maximizing benefits to the nation while ensuring the long-term...
Timeline of Data Additions and Updates
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All estimates are subject to change. Please...
NOAA Fisheries estimates recreational fishing catch by surveying a random sample of anglers as they complete their fishing trips. We use the public access fishing site register to help us determine where to send our samplers.
NOAA Fisheries maintains...