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Trip Interview Program (TIP)

Field biologists in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico locations visit docks and fish houses to conduct interviews with commercial fishers. Information collected consists of catch, effort, and biostatistical data.

Commercial sampler.

The Fisheries-Dependent Monitoring (FDM) section within the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) has ten port sampling field biologists involved in the Trip Interview Program System (TIPS), a cooperative effort with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries' Southeast Fisheries Science Center. This is a shore-based sampling program, in which our biologists visit docks and fish houses to conduct interviews with commercial fishers.  Information collected consists of catch, fishing effort, and biological data from harvested state and federally managed species.  The biological data includes lengths, weights, and hard parts used for aging fish, such as otoliths and spines. Researchers are able to age fish from these hard parts via annual growth zones within these structures, in a process similar to counting rings to determine the age of a tree. Ages derived from otolith and spines are used to estimate the age distribution of a fish population. The age distribution of a fish population and how it has changed over time are critical components used in the population assessment of fishes. Our biologists also collect additional biological samples as requested by research partners. These include soft tissues for mercury testing and stable isotope analysis, fin clips for genetics analysis, and gonad cross sections to assess sexual maturity. Along with collecting biological data from harvested catch, our biologists also work closely with dealers to help with fish identification and trip ticket reporting.


Commercial sampler.

The following table are the 2023 totals split up regionally, including total number of fisher interviews, total fish measured, and total aging samples collected.

2023 Field Station Totals

Field Station Interviews Fish Measured Hard Parts
Apalachicola 23 1393 584
Cedar Key 149 8380 5751
Charlotte Harbor 316 7128 4903
Indian River 166 1800 722
Jacksonville 160 6646 5246
Marathon 192 5487 374
Pensacola 73 4024 2390
St. Pete 143 3352 3098
Tequesta 87 2580 985
Diversity of fishes that commercial sampler's encounter.

Information for Wholesale/Retail Dealers.