The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife (Division) and its Bureau of Marine Fisheries (BMF) are looking for volunteer anglers to help collect information on catch and effort from recreational fishing trips in marine and estuarine waters of the state and surrounding areas.
The Recreational Saltwater Volunteer Angler Survey is aimed at collecting information on recreationally important marine finfish species. For catch information, BMF staff are interested in collecting information on the number and size of both kept and released species and should not be used only for successful trips. Trips with zero catch are important to report also.
According to the Division, Current data collection efforts for recreational fisheries are hindered by sampling only a small portion of the fishing public and from collecting minimal data on released fish. Information collected through this voluntary state survey will provide data that may support alternative management strategies that increase fishing opportunities for the public.
Anglers can report online, or print a log sheet to either mail or e-mail to BMF staff. A new survey platform has been created which is optimized for smartphones and other mobile devices, but can also be used on desktop or laptop computers.
In terms of how NOAA Fisheries will develop Marine Recreational Informational Program (MRIP) estimates, the Division stated, “Our understanding is that NMFS staff are in discussions on methodologies, and we will relay information to the angling public as we learn more.” In the interim, saltwater anglers fishing marine waters in the Garden State where a saltwater registry is required (saltwaterregistry.nj.gov) can help contribute better data by participating in the state’s Recreational Saltwater Volunteer Angler Survey this season.
For more information including printable forms and the new electronic survey platform go to www.njfishandwildlife.com/marinesurvey_intro.htm.