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<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>MRFSS 101 - Lessons in Data Collection <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>by Capt. Bob Zales<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="COLOR: black; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold">The basic design for collecting recreational fishing statistics consists of a complemented surveys approach that includes telephone surveys of fishing effort and an access-site intercept survey of angler catch. <SPAN style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold">It?s not simple, but here goes. <o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; COLOR: black"><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; COLOR: black">Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS) data, which includes the For-Hire Telephone Survey (FHS) taken from for-hire vessels, is produced in 2 month waves (January-February, March-April, May-June, etc.) There are two complementary components to consider. Effort surveys and dockside intercept surveys. There are various built-in checks and balances called validation efforts to ensure the interviewers do their job and ensure the data received was completed properly.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>The For Hire Telephone Survey (FHS) and private/recreational effort is collected differently, but the dockside intercepts are conducted the same for both surveys at the same time. The FHS effort is collected weekly. Surveys are taken the week following the week of the actual trips. This survey is accomplished by a state employee calling the for-hire vessel owner or captain to obtain the trip effort data, number of trips, hours fishing, number of anglers, area fished, etc. Ten percent (10%) of the for-hire vessels are called and interviewed each week. The federally permitted vessels are required to participate, although they are not required to answer their phone, and the state licensed for-hire vessels volunteer to participate as the feds have no fed permit to sanction. <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>The effort numbers for the private/recreational sector is collected beginning the week after the previous wave. The effort data is collected for wave 1 starting the 1st week of March. Data collection for wave 2 begins the 1st week of May and so on. The effort calls go on for 2 weeks. A percentage of coastal county households are called based on census data. <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>The dockside intercepts are done all year and various sites are preselected based on historical activity. Dockside intercepts provide the harvest data, the composition of catch, length and weight of species, helps to verify the effort by asking the number of anglers, what they caught and kept, caught and threw back, ate, used for bait, etc. Dockside intercepts also discover potential anglers and/or for-hire vessels that were not identified in the effort calling part. Known for-hire vessels are part of the vessel frame (list). When a for-hire vessel is intercepted at the dock, but is not in the frame, then the folks assume there may be other for-hire vessels not in the frame and a statistical formula called a correction factor is then used to adjust the number of vessels and the effort collected. The correction factor starts at 1, 1Xanything =s anything so if everyone reports and is able to be contacted the factor remains at 1. As vessels are sampled at a dock which are not on the list, the correction factor increases for all effort and catch data as 1 is modified to 1.1, 1.2, and has been higher than 2. The correction factor is used to multiply the effort data which is assumed to be complete when other vessels are found which then multiplies the effort and thus multiplies the harvest, as effort and harvest are directly connected.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>A similar correction factor is used in the private/recreational effort data. If an angler is interviewed and that person does not have a land phone line, then an assumption is made that there are more anglers like that and a correction factor is used to adjust that number. A similar scenario is used as above for the pri/rec effort.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>Once the wave period ends and after the 2 weeks of collecting effort numbers all that data is then put together in the MRFSS system. In the period after the 1st 2 weeks of the month following the wave, the data is reviewed for any outstandingerrors and any possible errorsor strange numbers are questioned, explained and then all is put together and placed on the MRFSS web site. Typically the data for each wave is available by the 6th or 7 week following the end of the wave. For example, wave 1 ends 2-28 and data for wave 1 is generally available by 4-15 to 21. Wave 2 data is available by 6-15 to 21, etc.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>Now when the data is available, it is still subject to change as new information comes in. This is why theAJ closure was not announced without much notice. Dr Crabtree's people probably did not receive the data until the Thursday or Friday before the Monday closing. I suspect his people had the data looked at which took another couple days so he only knew of the overagesome time over the weekend.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>Now for any future data collection system, a similar scenario will most likely be used to provide the data for for-hire, private/recreational, and whoever.A logbook could be better if there is 100% compliance as it will only work well with 100% compliance since a logbook is a census. This means not only the federal permitted vessels must comply, but also the state licensed vessels fishing on federal species. If there is not 100% compliance then the NMFS will use a correction factor to account for the vessels not filling out logbooks. The correction factors used today are one of the big problems with the current system. <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is a new data collection and analysis initiative being implemented by NOAA Fisheries to help ensure the long-term sustainability of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">America</st1:place></st1:country-region>?s fisheries and the health of our oceans. MRIP represents a management approach based on evaluating entire ecosystems, as opposed to single species of fish. Even if logbooks are collected once a week, which is currently the preferred method by MRIP, in reality all vessels will not provide their logbooks on time so the time to ensure the data is correct will be lengthened. We may be able to have data within a month, but in all reality, it will probably be about the same period of time used today. Logbook data will still have to be validated, effort will have to be validated, and no Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) or any other device will provide the validation automatically. Someone will have to enter the data and provide the information and then send the data to a central collection site. Dockside intercepts will still have to be used to visually inspect the catch and collect that data.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>As you can see, the data system is not simple and certainly not as easy as just filling out a logbook or pushing a key on a computer. I suggest that anyone who really wants to learn about the current data system and any proposed data system, contact the NMFS science and technology department and ask for an explanation. I am certainsomeone will be glad to assist you.<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>The real issue about the amberjack closure is the fact that the allocation was changed to 73% recreational 27% commercial. Historically it had been 84% recreational 16% commercial.If the recreational quota was based on 84% of the current Total Allowable Catch (TAC) it would be 1.596 million pounds and we would still have over 100,000 pounds to go. Many of us made this argument to the council when they made the change, so the fact that we exceeded our quota should not be a surprise. Hopefully this MRFSS 101 contributes to understanding the data system on which fishery decisions are made. <P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal><o:p></o:p><P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal>For more information on data collection online visit: http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/recreational/index.html
 

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This is a very interesting thread. It seems to me that if the "for hires do not answer their phones and respond to the surveys and therefore report their catches that this bonehead formula automaticly assumes that more fish are being caught. Talk about your flawed data.
 
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