Sport Fishing Community Reacts to NOAA Announcement of Data Program Failure – Fishing Equipment Retailer

Washington, DC(On September 11, 2023), the nation’s leading recreational fishing and marine conservation organizations issued a white paper on findings by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the Marine Recreational Information Program-Fishing Effort Survey (MRIP-FES) has He overestimates it. Hunting data and recreational effort by 30 – 40%.

The Marine Recreational Information Program is a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that provides estimates of recreational fishing catches and trips from Maine to Mississippi and Hawaii. These data are used to evaluate and manage state and federal fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Hawaii.

A recent pilot study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that MRIP-FES may overestimate recreational catch and effort data by 30-40%. This is the third time in 13 years that serious problems have been discovered in NOAA’s recreational fisheries data program.

Many states have demonstrated the ability to develop survey programs to estimate catch and recreational effort data more accurately than MRIP. NOAA needs to work with all states to determine the best steps forward, including the opportunity to transfer some or all recreational data collection to states and how to best support (i.e., funding) states that drive data collection improvements.

Some states may not be ready to transition into their own data collection program to estimate effort. For those states, NOAA must collaborate with states and stakeholders on necessary reforms to recreational data collection, many of which were identified in a recent National Academy of Sciences report. At the same time, NOAA must also pursue meaningful investments in developing and implementing recreational management improvements.

“NOAA has had multiple opportunities to reform recreational fisheries management, and has failed every time. A ready alternative exists in states that have already taken steps to develop better recreational data,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. Ever have the feds.’ “It is time to stop making the same mistakes, stop wasting taxpayer money, and stop causing chaos in recreational fisheries management and coastal communities. It is time for all parties to work together to properly fund state efforts to manage recreational fisheries.

“The confidence of the recreational fishing community in federal fisheries data could not be less,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. “Achieving fisheries management that balances conservation and access, and that fishers can trust, requires fundamental changes in how this data is collected. Additionally, recognizing the challenges inherent in collecting recreational catch data at the level of accuracy necessary to meet statutory management requirements, “Managers need to consider alternative management approaches such as what is being deployed in the mid-Atlantic for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass.”

“We are facing another major revision of the federal recreational data collection system, and we must recognize that NOAA is unable to do the job,” said Ted Finker, director of conservation at the Coastal Conservation Society. “At best, we are looking at several more years of questionable reviews, recalculations, and recalibration based on a questionable data system that has never been proven capable of producing accurate information. This is no way to manage public resources. It would be irresponsible to continue this way.” way rather than exploring and supporting state-based options to better manage the leisure sector where possible.

“In 2013, I testified before the U.S. House of Representatives that the MRIP was a good public survey but would never provide the accuracy and reliability of data we need to manage the recreational sector according to annual catch limits. “It was a good choice,” said Chris Horton, senior director of fisheries policy at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. MRIP still proves my point a decade later.” “We are encouraged that NOAA Fisheries is embracing government data programs as a better way forward, at least in the Gulf region. However, each year it becomes more clear that the increasingly ineffective federal management model of managing a theoretical annual quota based largely on outdated catch data is actually the elephant in the room.


The Sportfishing Policy Center works to maximize opportunities for saltwater recreational fishers by organizing, focusing, and engaging recreational fishing stakeholders to speak with one voice to shape federal marine fisheries management policy. For more information about CSP and its partners, visit

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