NOAA has begun to use an improved method to estimate the amount of fish caught by saltwater anglers, which will allow rules that fishermen follow to be based on more accurate information, the agency announced this week.
The method is part of an overall effort to improve the accuracy of recreational catch data collected by the Marine Recreational Information Program, and was developed by a team of NOAA scientists and outside experts.
“The new estimation method is a fundamental change that better reflects what is happening on the water and within the
recreational fishing community,” Eric Schwaab, NOAA’s acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, said in a statement. “Better, more accurate estimates can only be a plus for the saltwater recreational fishing industry, which provides jobs for many Americans and contributes to the economic vitality of our coastal communities.”
The agency today released recalculated estimates going back to 2004 using the new method. There were no overall trends in terms of size or direction of the new estimates; catch estimates for some species go up, some go down, and some remain about the same.
Using these new estimates NOAA will work with the regional fishery management councils, the states and other stakeholders to integrate these results into fisheries science and management.