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Learn about the history of the Gulf Reef Fish Survey.

Timeline of the Gulf Reef Fish Survey


November 2013

Researchers from FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) participate in the first Gulf-wide workshop on Red Snapper Recreational Catch Accounting Methods to document the data needed to support regional and state management of Red Snapper in Gulf of Mexico. The workshop was hosted by Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and NOAA Fisheries.

During the workshop, FWRI researchers worked together with NOAA Fisheries and statistical consultants to develop the initial concept of the Gulf Reef Fish Survey.

Other participants: Representatives from resource management agencies from each of the five Gulf States, experts in survey design from across the country, National Marine Fisheries Service.

Learn more about the Red Snapper Catch Accounting Workshop.

March 2014

FWC holds a series of public workshops on a proposed rule to require anglers to sign up for the new Gulf Reef Fish Survey.

Researchers from FWRI participate in a second Gulf-wide workshop to review survey designs and consult with statistical experts.

June 2014

The Commission approves the new Gulf Reef Fish Survey requirement.

December 2014

Researchers from FWRI participate in a third Gulf-wide workshop to review status of pilot projects and learn about criteria for new survey designs to be certified as the best scientific information available for managing fisheries under the federal Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

April 2015

First month that anglers are required to sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey in order to legally harvest reef fish from a private boat on the west coast of Florida.

May 2015

The Gulf Reef Fish Survey is launched; anglers signed up for the survey are randomly selected, begin receiving questionnaires in the mail, and participate in interviews with FWRI biologists at boat ramps and marinas.

2016 - 2017

Pilot testing of the Gulf Reef Fish Survey continues to be run side-by-side with the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Data from the two surveys are used together to produce more precise catch estimates for reef fish.

February 2018

Expert statisticians are invited to FWRI to formally review Gulf Reef Fish Survey methods and results of first three years of pilot testing.

April 2018

FWRI receives final report from formal review by expert statisticians. Reviewers find the approach of the Gulf Reef Fish Survey is appropriate and the methods are statistically sound. They also provide suggestions for ways to improve the survey.

FWC is approved by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to participate in a new fishery-management pilot program that gives state managers flexibility to manage the Red Snapper recreational fishing season in adjacent state and federal waters. The Gulf Reef Fish Survey is named as the primary method for monitoring landings during the season.

May-June 2018

Researchers from FWRI begin implementing recommended improvements to the Gulf Reef Fish Survey and prepare to apply for certification as the best scientific information available to manage the recreational fishery.

June-July 2018

The Gulf Reef Fish Survey will be used to monitor the recreational fishing season for Red Snapper during the Fishery Management Pilot Program.

September 2018

Researchers from FWRI will participate in a fourth Gulf-wide workshop to develop methods for using recreational catch estimates before 2015 together with newer estimates generated through the Gulf Reef Fish Survey.


Learn more about the methods of the intercept survey and mail survey.