Data and Management Strategies
for Recreational Fisheries
with Annual Catch Limits
Committee on Data and Management Strategies
for Recreational Fisheries with Annual Catch Limits
Ocean Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Studies
A Consensus Study Report of
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This activity was supported by a contract between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Award Number WC133R17CQ0031/1305M319FNRMA0203. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-67157-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-67157-4
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/26185
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Data and Management Strategies for Recreational Fisheries with Annual Catch Limits. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26185.
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COMMITTEE ON DATA AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR RECREATIONAL FISHERIES WITH ANNUAL CATCH LIMITS
LUIZ R. BARBIERI (Chair), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, St. Petersburg
YONG CHEN, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
CHRIS DUMAS, University of North Carolina Wilmington
MICHELLE DUVAL, Mellivora Consulting, West Chester, Pennsylvania
STEVEN G. HEERINGA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
KAI LORENZEN, University of Florida, Gainesville
SEAN POWERS, University of South Alabama, Mobile
STEVEN SCYPHERS, Northeastern University, Nahant, Massachusetts
TIEN-SHUI “THERESA” TSOU, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia
ZHENGYUAN ZHU, Iowa State University, Ames
CONSTANCE KARRAS, Senior Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board
ALEXANDRA SKRIVANEK, Associate Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board
TRENT CUMMINGS, Senior Program Assistant, Ocean Studies Board
OCEAN STUDIES BOARD
LARRY A. MAYER (NAE) (Outgoing Chair), University of New Hampshire, Durham
CLAUDIA BENITEZ-NELSON (Incoming Chair), University of South Carolina, Columbia
MARK ABBOTT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
CAROL ARNOSTI, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
LISA CAMPBELL, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
THOMAS S. CHANCE, ASV Global, LLC (ret.), Broussard, Louisiana
DANIEL COSTA, University of California, Santa Cruz
JOHN DELANEY, University of Washington (ret.), Seattle
SCOTT GLENN, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
PATRICK HEIMBACH, The University of Texas at Austin
MARCIA ISAKSON, The University of Texas at Austin
LEKELIA JENKINS, Arizona State University, Tempe
NANCY KNOWLTON (NAS), Smithsonian Institution (ret.), Washington, District of Columbia
ANTHONY MacDONALD, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey
THOMAS MILLER, University of Maryland, Solomons
S. BRADLEY MORAN, University of Alaska Fairbanks
RUTH M. PERRY, Shell Exploration & Production Company, Houston, Texas
JAMES SANCHIRICO, University of California, Davis
MARK J. SPALDING, The Ocean Foundation, Washington, District of Columbia
RICHARD SPINRAD, Oregon State University, Corvallis
ROBERT S. WINOKUR, Michigan Tech Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland
SUSAN ROBERTS, Director
CONSTANCE KARRAS, Senior Program Officer
KELLY OSKVIG, Senior Program Officer
EMILY TWIGG, Program Officer
MEGAN MAY, Associate Program Officer
ALEXANDRA SKRIVANEK, Associate Program Officer
VANESSA CONSTANT, Associate Program Officer
SHELLY-ANN FREELAND, Financial Business Partner
TRENT CUMMINGS, Senior Program Assistant
KENZA SIDI-ALI-CHERIF, Program Assistant
ELIZABETH COSTA, Program Assistant
The collection of catch data on marine recreational fisheries is difficult, complex, and different from data collection on commercial fisheries. The complexity of recreational fisheries comes from the vast number of species, fishers, entry locations, fishing seasons, and recreational fishers’ objectives—from enjoying a day in nature to catching dinner.
As the magnitude and relevance of recreational fisheries increase, so does the demand for better data collection systems. In 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also known as NOAA Fisheries, requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) review the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). This national program provides recreational catch data to support the needs of fisheries scientists and managers who are responsible for conducting assessments of fish stocks and establishing fishing regulations to ensure the sustainable management and use of U.S. fisheries resources. The National Academies convened an ad hoc committee that assessed progress in updating marine recreational fisheries data collection through MRIP over the previous decade and identified potential areas for improvements or modifications to the program that would increase data quality for sustainable fisheries management. That committee released the report Review of the Marine Recreational Information Program, which concluded that the difficulties of estimating recreational catches in an accurate, precise, and timely manner with sufficient spatiotemporal resolution to inform in-season monitoring and management against annual catch limits (ACLs) may result in management problems for recreational and mixed-use fisheries. These difficulties may also lead to an erosion of trust in the management system among recreational fisheries stakeholders.
While NOAA Fisheries has made improvements to the MRIP program since 2017, questions remain regarding outstanding challenges limiting the extent to which current survey methods in each region meet the needs of the defined in-season management of recreational fisheries with ACLs. In some cases, adherence to ACLs requires short recreational fishing seasons, which complicates data collection, monitoring, and management. This observation is not new and warrants the consideration of alternative approaches to optimize MRIP data and complementary data for
in-season management. In 2018, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act underscored the many differences between commercial and recreational fisheries management and called for a new National Academies study on how well the MRIP meets the needs of in-season management of fisheries with ACLs as well as how survey methods or management strategies might be modified to better meet those needs. The National Academies convened the Committee on Data and Management Strategies for Recreational Fisheries with Annual Catch Limits in 2020 to conduct this study. This report is a result of that effort.
This report captures the collective wisdom of some of the nation’s leading experts in survey sampling and recreational fisheries data and management. I want to express my deep appreciation to every member of the committee for his or her attention, thoughtfulness, and hard work, as well as their wonderful collegiality.
The committee is grateful to NOAA Fisheries for its responsiveness to the many questions and requests for information during the committee’s development of this report. In particular, we thank the MRIP staff and Gordon Colvin for his guidance throughout the study process. The committee is also grateful to the many individuals who played a role in completing this study. The committee met seven times throughout the course of the study and would like to extend its thanks to all of the individuals from Regional Fishery Management Councils, NOAA Fisheries, state fisheries agencies, recreational and commercial fisheries organizations, environmental conservation organizations, and others who appeared before the full committee or provided background information and discussed relevant issues.
Lastly, the committee extends its sincere appreciation to its superb National Academies’ staff for their valuable support and many contributions to the project. Senior Program Officer, Stacee Karras, Associate Program Officer Alexandra Skrivanek, and Senior Program Assistant Trent Cummings were instrumental in keeping the project on course and ensuring the timely completion of the report without compromising quality. Working with this team has been a pleasure and a privilege.
Luiz R. Barbieri, Chair
Committee on Data and Management Strategies for Recreational Fisheries with Annual Catch Limits
The committee would especially like to thank National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) staff and contractors for their invaluable assistance in providing background documents and responding to information requested by the committee, and for their participation in meetings and on calls. In particular, the committee thanks Richard Cody, Gordon Colvin, John Foster, Michael Ruccio, and Chris Wright.
This report was also greatly enhanced by discussions with participants at the committee’s seven meetings conducted as part of this study. The committee would like to especially acknowledge the efforts of those who gave presentations at these meetings: Kelly Denit (NOAA Fisheries), Richard Cody (NOAA Fisheries), Russell Dunn (NOAA Fisheries), Tim Sartwell (NOAA Fisheries), Tom Frazer (University of South Florida), Ryan Rindone (Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council), Kellie Ralston (American Sportfishing Association [ASA]), Chris Horton (Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation), Michael Drexler (Ocean Conservancy), Sepp Haukebo (Environmental Defense Fund), Gregg Bray (Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission), Beverly Sauls (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC]), Kevin Anson (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), Trevor Moncrief (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources), Harry Blanchet (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries), Mark Fisher (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department), John Foster (NOAA Fisheries), John Carmichael (South Atlantic Fishery Management Council), Jessica McCawley (FWC), Genny Nesslage (University of Maryland), Bob Lorenz (private angler), Roy Crabtree (NOAA Fisheries), Andy Strelcheck (NOAA Fisheries), Geoff White (Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program), Amy Dukes (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources), Chris Wilson (North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality [NCDEQ]), Steve Poland (NCDEQ), Carolyn Belcher (Georgia Department of Natural Resources), Ira Laks (Relaks Fishing), Tom Roller (WaterDog Guide Service), Kiley Dancy (Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council [MAFMC]), Julia Beaty (MAFMC), Mike Luisi (Maryland Department of Natural Resources), Jeffrey Brust (New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife), John Maniscalco (New York Department of Environmental Conservation), Garry Glanden (Dela-
ware Division of Fish and Wildlife), Shanna Madson, (Virginia Marine Resources Commission [VMRC]), Lewis Gillingham (VMRC), Mike Waine (ASA), Charles Witek (private angler), Gordon Colvin (NOAA Fisheries), Rob Andrews (NOAA Fisheries), Chris Kellogg (Northeast Fishery Management Council [NEFMC]), Jamie Cournane (NEFMC), Scott Steinback (NOAA Fisheries), Moira Kelly (NOAA Fisheries), Bob Beal (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission), Jason McNamee (Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management), Samuel Truesdell (Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries), Matthew Cieri (Maine Department of Marine Resources), Greg Wojcik (Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection), Kevin Sullivan (New Hampshire Fish and Game Department), Rip Cunningham (private angler), Rick Bellavance (charter boat captain), John Devore (Pacific Fishery Management Council [PFMC]), John Field (NOAA Fisheries), E. J. Dick (NOAA Fisheries), Melissa Monk (NOAA Fisheries), Jason Cope (NOAA Fisheries), Jean Opsomer (Westat), Lauren Dolinger Few (NOAA Fisheries), Lynne Mattes (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife), Heather Hall (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife [WDFW]), Dereck Dapp (WDFW), John Budrick (California Department of Fish and Wildlife), Phil Anderson (PFMC), Kurt Iverson (NOAA Fisheries), Jim Hasbrouck (Alaska Department of Fish and Game), Marlowe Sabater (Western Pacific Fishery Management Council [WPFMC]), Kitty Simonds (WPFMC), Hongguang Ma (NOAA Fisheries), and Todd Jones (NOAA Fisheries).
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed as a draft by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
MICHAEL ARMSTRONG, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
MICHAEL BRICK, Westat, Inc.
JOHN CARMICHAEL, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
JOHN COON, Pacific Fishery Management Council (Ret.)
JILL DEVER, RTI International
WILLIAM GOLDSMITH, American Saltwater Guides Association
CYNTHIA JONES, Old Dominion University
PAUL RAGO, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee
PATRICK SULLIVAN, Cornell University
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by ANDREW SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and ALAN HASTINGS, University of California, Davis. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.