flawed” MRFSS system requires complete overhaul.
16 month long review of the current Marine Recreational Fishing
Statistical Survey (MRFSS) revealed embarrassing mismanagement by the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and validation of recreational
angler’s concerns over inaccuracies in the landings estimates used to
manage recreational fisheries.
NMFS had requested the review by the National Academy of Sciences
(NAS) and in doing so admitted that MRFSS was inadequate for the needs of
modern fisheries management. The
NAS is a private scientific society used for many government reviews. The
report summary, delivered by Committee Chairman Patrick Sullivan to
recreational leaders in Washington, DC last week is a mandate to create a
new, reliable, accurate recreational fishing analysis tool through the
partnering of States, NMFS and Fishing Groups.
User’s complaints of MRFSS managers inadequate communication and
outreach are justified, the report states.
Dr. Sullivan stated that the current MRFSS was "fatally
flawed". The Fishing Rights Alliance will demand that NMFS
address the issues in the report immediately, as the report urges.
in order, in context, from the report summary (FRA emphasis in bold):
committee has identified several areas in which designers of
sampling programs, data collectors, and users of recreational
fisheries data appear to have incomplete communication, mismatched
criteria, or other obstacles.
is not reasonable to expect such a small staff—and one that
lacks a Ph.D.-level mathematical statistician—to operate a
national survey of such complexity
the telephone and access components of the current approach have
serious flaws in design or implementation and use inadequate
analysis methods that need to be addressed immediately.
committee concludes that users’ concerns about the use of the
MRFSS in fishery management are justified by the above-mentioned
weaknesses, but they also result from inadequate communication and
outreach on the part of the managers of the MRFSS at NMFS.
MRFSS (as well as many of its component or companion surveys
conducted either indirectly or independently) should be completely
the estimation procedure for information gathered onsite does not
use the nominal or actual selection probabilities of the sample
design and, therefore, has the potential to produce biased estimates
of both the parameters of interest and their variances.
addition, various physical, financial, and operational constraints
often lead to spatial or temporal biases in onsite sampling coverage
that are not adequately accounted for in the estimation equations.
What do we
need to do?
reliable data collection tool.
reliable data analysis process using the report's recommendations.
effort surveys in conjunction with a national angler registration.
Read it here
View the NAS summary in .pdf
the entire report in .pdf
Quick Review of acronyms, with links:
NMFS- National Marine Fisheries
- Marine Recreational Fishing Statistical Survey.
NAS - National Academy of
FRA- Fishing Rights Alliance