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NOAA FISHERIES: Office of Science and Technology
Directorate | Fisheries Statistics | Assessment & Monitoring | Economics & Social Analysis | Science Information | Marine EcoSystems

Evaluating marine sport fisheries in the USA


Since 1979, the United States has been collecting data on marine recreational angling with the Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey (MRFSS). This survey is designed to produce estimates of fishing catch, effort, and participation, as well as related demographic and socio-economic variables. The MRFSS consists of two independent but complementary surveys conducted annually in six two-month ‘waves’, all across the United States. The first part consists of an intercept survey of anglers conducted at fishing access sites. The intercept survey is designed to obtain a random sample of recreational trips for computing catch per unit effort. This sample is stratified by state, wave, mode, fishing area, catch type, and species. During the intercept interview, measuring and weighing available catch collects biological data. Disposition of catch not retained is also solicited to characterize release behaviour. The second survey component is a telephone survey of randomly contacted households in all coastal counties. This phase is used to estimate fishing effort, measured in trips, for residents of coastal counties. Overall effort, 22,518,000 trips for the Northeast states in 1994 and 36,966,000 trips for the Southeast states in 1997, is found by expanding the coastal effort based on a ratio obtained from the intercept survey. Combining data from the two survey components produces total catch and participation estimates.

To enable the estimation of travel cost models of recreational demand, the base MRFSS survey has been amended to include necessary data elements. Additionally, data rae collected that will enable the estimation of economic impact models. In this chapter, the economic surveying strategy of the United States for marine recreational angling is presented. The discussion will focus on the key data elements we have identified for both valuation and economic impact modeling. Once the data collection strategy has been described, two regional applications of a random utility model of recreation demand are detailed. The same general random utility model was applied to data collected in the Northeast and Southeast United States to value access to marine angling and to develop a marginal value of catch.

Source: Gentner, B. and A. Lowther. 2002. "Evaluating marine sport fisheries in the USA." In: Recreational Fisheries: Ecological, and Economic, and Social Evaluation, T.J. Pitcher and C.E. Hollingsworth, eds. Blackwell Science, Oxford. Pp. 186-206.

For more information, please contact: Sabrina Lovell

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