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Program Overview

Get Involved
Scientists, stakeholders, public officials and many others all have a hand in making recreational fishing regulations. But if you’re a fisherman, the process ultimately revolves around you.

That’s because of the many roles fishermen play when it comes to protecting ocean resources:

  • As an angler, you’re on the front line of conservation. The decisions you make about when you fish and what you keep have a real impact on the resource, and on how fisheries are managed.
  • As our “eyes and ears” on the water, you’re a major source of data. What you tell us about how often you fish and what you catch is vital information that helps us understand what’s happening in the fishery.
  • As an engaged constituent, your input at regional meetings, through your fishing club, at Council and Commission meetings, and at public forums, ensures that recreational fishermen have a voice in the management process.

The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is the new way NOAA Fisheries is counting and reporting marine recreational catch and effort. It is a angler-driven initiative that will not only produce better estimates, but will do so through a process grounded in the principles of transparency, accountability and engagement. MRIP replaces the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey, or MRFSS, which has been in place since the 1970s.

MRIP is designed to meet two critical needs.

MRIP explicitly recognizes that the numbers we produce do not exist in a vacuum, that they have real impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans.

What will MRIP Do?
MRIP will reduce potential bias and increase the accuracy, timeliness and spatial resolution of recreational catch and effort estimates. MRIP is also intended to increase stakeholder confidence in those estimates. MRIP will not be a fisheries management “silver bullet”; it is the commitment to a process in which end users' needs are a top consideration. We can't predict how much different individual estimates for any given stock or wave may be under MRIP, but we do know that the quality of the estimates will be significantly enhanced because the numbers are generated through a newly refined, more statistically robust process.

Improved system of surveys
MRIP is a system of coordinated data collection programs designed to address specific regional needs for recreational fishing information. This regional approach based on a nationally consistent standard will ensure that the appropriate, targeted, place-based information is being collected to best meet the needs of managers and stakeholders, and that it is being done in a scientifically rigorous way.

Although NOAA Fisheries is ultimately responsible for making MRIP work, the program’s design has relied extensively on input and commitment from independent scientists, partner agencies, fishing groups, conservation organizations and individuals who served on MRIP working groups. Their efforts were heavily informed by dozens of meetings NOAA Fisheries held over an 18-month period with fishermen, data partners and other stakeholders from every region of the country.

Looking Forward
NOAA Fisheries envisions MRIP as a program that is part of the best and most trusted marine data collection system available. One in which people are confident in the integrity of the information they receive, managers have the appropriate tools in hand to effectively do their critical work, and stakeholders are engaged and empowered partners in the data collection process.

At its core, MRIP is built on the recognition that no single agency can effectively safeguard our ocean resources. Rather, the effort requires the buy-in, cooperation and engagement of a broad network of stakeholders.