The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has begun to transition from the former Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey (MRFSS) to the new Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). This transition is in response to changes requested through scientific review of the methodology, and the concerns voiced by the recreational industry, that the MRFSS estimates of recreational catch were not sufficiently accurate and were having a direct negative impact on recreational fisheries coast wide.
Part of the process of transitioning from the MRFSS to MRIP format includes obtaining more informed data about each intercept site, or interview site, where NMFS contractors should interview recreational anglers about their catch. This determination of where and how often interviews take place depends on the amount of effort (pressure) at a given site during each 6-hour period. In short, this is part of a larger process to improve accuracy of recreational catch estimates that have been influenced by biases in how the data were collected.
The NMFS recently provided coastal state partners an opportunity to gather information about the level of activity (pressure) for each of the previous identified interview sites. There are nearly 240 access sites in the Commonwealth. Each state partner has the opportunity to recommend the removal of sites that are not useful interview sites, as well as add in new sites not previously on the site register.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) has hired grant-funded summer-time contractors to perform live data sampling for each site throughout the summer (June through July). However, we will be unable to gather specific data by site from the months of January through May and September through December, in order to meet the NMFS needs.
Below are site specific forms, for the counties and cities where MRIP interview sites currently exist. These forms provide an individual the ability to indicate the level of activity at each site, on a weekday (Monday through Friday) and a weekend day (Saturday and Sunday), during one of 4 six-hour time periods, during each month of the year. There are additional “blank” forms enclosed on the last pages of this packet to allow individuals to include information on sites that are not currently identified by the NMFS as an interview site, but should be considered in the future.
For numerous years, VMRC staff have attended various angler club meetings, and met with many fishermen, who have asked how they can be more involved in the recreational fisheries management process. The NMFS has provided this opportunity to help shape a survey (MRIP) that will have a major impact on recreational fisheries management in the future. Though the timeline is short, this is one of those opportunities for recreational anglers and organizations to get involved in the process. By providing your knowledge of the individual site you will have contributed to the overall improvement of the survey.
Please scroll down to see form links; mail, fax or email all completed forms by 8/31/12 to:
2600 Washington Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607
Middle Peninsula Forms: