The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is a NOAA Fisheries data collection program.  The MRIP is designed to provide federal fisheries scientists and managers with more detailed and accurate information about recreational fishing activity through random, unbiased surveys of recreational anglers.  Many states, including Alabama, use MRIP data to monitor recreational fisheries and to assist with management decisions.

A large part of MRIP is the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS), which replaces the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey (MRFSS) that began in Alabama in the late 1970’s.  In Alabama, APAIS sampling assignments are completed by Marine Resources Division staff.  Assignments are conducted at randomly-drawn public access sites during defined time blocks allocated throughout the 24-hour day whereby saltwater anglers fishing from shore, private vessels, or charter vessels are interviewed for information about their fishing trips.  The interview consists of questions about the angler’s fishing activity including time spent fishing, area fished, and some demographic information.  If the angler caught fish, the sampler will ask how many species of fish were caught and/or released during the trip and take biological data (lengths, weights, etc.) from any retained catch.  From the data gathered during each interview, NOAA can produce expanded estimates of catch, harvest and effort.

Another portion of MRIP is the For-Hire Survey (FHS) in which effort in the for-hire (charter vessel) portion of the recreational fishery is collected and analyzed.  Marine Resources Division staff validate the vessel activity of a randomly drawn sample of charter vessels each week by visiting their known docking locations.  At the end of each week the selected captains are contacted to collect information about the trips they completed during the previous week, including hours fished and target species.  From these data, NOAA can produce effort estimates (angler trips) for inland, state, and federal waters.

The fisheries-dependent data collected through this program is utilized in conjunction with other fisheries-dependent data, as well as fisheries-independent data, by fisheries managers for the management of our marine resources.

For more information about the APAIS or FHS visit http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/recreational-fisheries/index