NOAA plans fishing-boat operator survey

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The U.S. Department of Commerce is asking the federal Office of Management and Budget for permission to conduct a phone survey of for-hire recreational fishing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to talk to 22,421 fishing boat operators for about three minutes each, Examiner.com reported.

The project is apparently a modification of one that NOAA had planned earlier this year. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NOAA is required to collect data to help it protect marine resources. It asks recreational anglers how much they fish, what they catch and socioeconomic data about themselves.

Sometimes NOAA uses telephone surveys, asks people to provide data online or has them fill out log sheets. The current plan is to ask 10 percent of licensed for-hire or charterboat operators about a recent week of activity.

NOAA designed the form using its computer-assisted telephone interview system. It wants to ask operators about the number of fishing trips they took and how much of various species that they caught. It expects the boat operators to keep logs. Participants who do not want to take a telephone survey can provide information online.

No one will be required to participate in the survey and NOAA does not plan to use a set schedule for it.

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