Marine Recreational Information Program FAQs

View frequently asked questions about the Marine Recreational Information Program.

What is the MRIP?
The Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) was developed in 1979 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service to monitor the relative size and impact of saltwater recreational fisheries in the United States. The survey has two components that complement each other. The field intercept component collects catch and harvest data through direct interviews with anglers that are intercepted at the end of their fishing trip. In Florida, biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) interview more than 25,000 anglers in the intercept survey each year. The effort survey component uses household telephone surveys to collect information on the number of fishing trips made in the state, including numbers of anglers and how often they go fishing.

Combined, the two components of the MRIPExternal Website are used to estimate total catch, harvest, and effort in the recreational fishery. To learn more about recreational fishing surveys in Florida, visit the Commercial and Recreational Fisheries section.

Is the MRIP doing a good job?
The MRIP provides vital statistics for many of Florida's more important marine fisheries. However, the MRIP does not satisfy all the current needs of the many state, regional, and federal fisheries managers that use recreational fisheries data. In 2004, NOAA Fisheries invited the National Research Council (NRC) to review marine recreational fishing survey methods used throughout the United States, including the MRIP, and to recommend ways to improve data collection. The NRC identified several key elements of the MRIP that should be improved or redesigned to meet the current needs of fisheries managers. The full NRC reportExternal Website is available.

Should I still participate in the MRIP survey in Florida?
Yes. If you are approached by an FWC biologist in the field and asked to participate in a MRIP interview, we encourage you to continue to cooperate in this valuable survey.

Why should anglers continue to participate in the MRIP?
Angler cooperation is vital to our mission to sustain and manage marine fisheries in Florida. Data collected during MRIP interviews provide crucial information about the average number of fish caught per fishing trip, also called catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE). CPUE is very important for assessing the health of fisheries. For example, if anglers have to fish longer and more often to successfully catch a fish, or anglers are releasing fewer young fish back into the water, it is an indication that conservation measures may be needed to help the fish population recover. Without continuous monitoring through surveys and interviews such as the MRIP, it is difficult for fisheries managers to know if conservation measures currently in place are doing a good job of protecting fish populations.

Why does Florida have an interest in the national effort to improve recreational fishing surveys?
In 2016, the MRIP (formerly MRFSS) estimated recreational anglers took 52.3 million saltwater fishing trips from Maine to Mississippi in inshore and offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Over 40% (20.9 million) of those fishing trips originated from the state of Florida. Saltwater anglers in Florida fish in a variety of fish habitats, from inland waterways to open ocean. Florida-based recreational fisheries impact a large diversity of marine fish stocks that are managed by any combination of state, regional, and national jurisdictions. Some Florida-based fisheries have implications for international management of highly migratory species. For the best management of all fisheries important to Florida anglers, data collection from recreational fisheries must be coordinated among state, regional, and national data collection programs.

What is Florida doing to improve recreational fishing surveys?
FWC cannot collect recreational fishing data without the good faith and cooperation of recreational anglers and the for-hire industry, which includes fishing charters and fishing guides. Working with stakeholders, scientists, and fishery managers, in concert with state and federal partners, our goal is to help design a data collection system that the recreational fishing community will be confident in, that provides reliable and timely information to state and federal fisheries managers, and suits the specific needs of the state of Florida. FWC will play an integral role in the national discussion on how to implement the recommendations of the NRC and improve the MRIP survey.

How can I stay informed?
To receive a monthly newsletter e-mail which highlights new items on this Web site, including updates on recreational fishing surveys in Florida, visit the Subscription page.

The NRC also recommended a Universal Saltwater Angler Registry. What is it?
One of the major recommendations from the NRC to improve the MRIP survey was the design and use of a universal registry of saltwater anglers throughout the United States, using existing state license databases or a national registry, or a combination of both. The registry would serve as a sampling universe for collecting recreational fishing statistics. Currently, the MRIP gathers data on fishing effort, or the number of hours or trips anglers fish, through a random telephone survey of households in coastal counties of the United States . An angler registry would improve the coverage of data collection by including all saltwater anglers in the United States. It would also provide a more direct means for gathering information. A mechanism for establishing a national registry is currently being considered by the U.S. Congress as part of its reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Visit NOAAExternal Website to learn more.

What did the NRC recommend for for-hire fisheries, such as charter boats, headboats, and guide boats?
The NRC recommended specialized survey methods and reporting requirements for for-hire sectors of the recreational fishery. In Florida and many other states where the MRIP is conducted, for-hire fishing effort is estimated from data collected in a special telephone survey of captains and vessel owners, called the For-Hire Survey. Information on catch and harvest from anglers on for-hire vessels is collected using the same methods as the MRIP intercept survey. The NRC concluded that estimates of both catch and effort for this segment of the fishery would be more accurate if reporting was mandatory for all licensed for-hire vessels and surveyed as a complete census rather than as a sample of voluntary participants.

If I am a for-hire captain or vessel owner, should I still participate in the For-Hire Telephone Survey?
Yes. The NRC acknowledged that the For-Hire Survey is adequate for estimating effort in this segment of the recreational fishery. Until new survey methods are implemented, the For-Hire Survey is the state's only source of information on fishing activity by for-hire vessels, and this information will continue to be used in management decisions that effect state and federal fisheries. Without your participation, FWC will be unable to manage fisheries based on timely and reliable data. Renewal of some federal permits may also depend upon your participation in the For-Hire Survey.

I'm currently not participating in the For-Hire Survey. How can I begin?
To be added to the For-Hire Telephone Survey in Florida or to change your contact information, contact:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Attention: Aimee Griffin
100 Eighth Avenue SE
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 896-8626 phone
(727) 893-2162 fax

FWC Facts:
Johnson's seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) lives only in Florida, and is the only federally listed threatened marine plant species.

Learn More at AskFWC