Review of Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods (April 2006)Report in Brief
Recreational fishing in the United States is an important social and economic component of many marine fisheries, with an estimated 14 million anglers making almost 82 million fishing trips in 2004. Although each individual angler typically harvests a small number of fish, collectively these sport fisheries can take a significant fraction of the yearly catch, and the large number of anglers and access points makes monitoring recreational fishing much more difficult than monitoring commercial fishing. This report reviews the types of survey methods used to estimate catch in recreational fisheries, including cooperative state and federal programs, and finds that both telephone survey and onsite access components of the current monitoring systems require improvements in design or implementation. This report recommends the establishment of a comprehensive, universal sampling frame with national coverage to facilitate data collection and the improvement in statistical analysis of the data and in the ways the data are communicated to recreational fishing groups.