What is MRIP?
The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is the new way the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) is counting and reporting key aspects of recreational fishing activity: it factors in the catch—or the tally of the number, size and species of fish being caught, plus the effort—another way of saying how many people are fishing, when and how often. Launched in 2008, MRIP has been designed from the ground up as a comprehensive overhaul of NOAA Fisheries’ previous estimation methods.
It will not only produce better estimates of fishing activity—and ultimately, the health of fish stocks—but will accomplish this through a process grounded in the principles of transparency, accountability and engagement.
MRIP is designed to meet two critical needs. The first is to provide the detailed, timely and scientifically sound estimates upon which fisheries managers, stock assessors and marine scientists can rely to ensure the sustainability of ocean resources.
Equally important, MRIP will address head-on stakeholder concerns about the reliability and credibility of recreational fishing catch and effort estimates.
MRIP explicitly recognizes that the numbers we produce do not exist in a vacuum; they have real impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans.
How will MRIP benefit anglers?
MRIP will benefit anyone concerned about the sustainability of our ocean resources. It will provide better data by addressing potential biases in past methods, and by adapting to meet emerging science and management needs.
It’s very important to understand that MRIP may not have a significant impact on current estimates of fishing regulations. But it will be the basis for a collaborative process for evaluating what the numbers tell us and how we should respond.
In the end, the better the information we have, the better the decisions we can make about how best to conserve our oceans and ensure their sustainable use.
Where can I learn more?
To learn more about MRIP at the national level, visit www.countmyfish.noaa.gov. To learn more about what it means to you as an angler, get involved! Go to council meetings, become active with your fishing club, and check back with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife throughout the fishing season.