The National Saltwater Angler Registry is part of a new federal recreational fishing data program called the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). The MRIP is a NOAA initiative which was established in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act of 2006. The main goal of the MRIP (and the Registry) is to improve the collection, analysis, and use of recreational saltwater fishing information.
NOAA exempts anglers from federal registration if they are licensed in states that have a system to provide complete information on their saltwater anglers to the national registry. Florida residents are NOT required to register because Florida provides such information to the national registry. Saltwater recreational anglers and spearfishers who are not exempt from the requirement need to register to fish in federal waters beginning January 1, 2010.
The Florida resident recreational shoreline license exemption was the single item preventing Florida from being exempt in the current federal system, but during the 2009 Florida Legislative session, this exemption was repealed and the annual resident shoreline fishing license was created.
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What other changes are occurring as part of the MRIP?
For almost 30 years, the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Surveys (MRFSS) has been used to gather information on recreational anglers' catches and fishing effort. Through the years, the way people fish and the number of people fishing has changed, and recently stakeholders have raised concerns about the timeliness of the MRFSS and the accuracy of information it produces. When Congress reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 2007, they established the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) to replace the MRFSS and improve the collection, analysis, and use of recreational saltwater fishing information. To achieve this goal, the MRIP is in the process of testing and implementing several key changes.
The MRIP is modernizing its surveys and how the data will be handled. The main questions the survey will ask are:
These questions are being refined to obtain more precise and accurate answers. In addition, the questions in the surveys will be standardized and collected regionally to maximize their accuracy. Licensed saltwater anglers will be surveyed nationwide, but coastal households will be contacted as well.
The MRIP is developing several new programs to obtain data about a broader range of fisheries. One program will determine the difference between catch rates of fish on private-access and public-access fishing trips. The MRIP will also more closely estimate the actual discarded catch from recreational fishing trips. Another new program will include more details about highly migratory species and for-hire vessels, in an effort to realize a more comprehensive view of these fisheries. Finally, the MRIP will establish common standards and protocols for managing all the data that is collected.
Click here for a list of FAQs about the MRIP.
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