Over the past decade (2008-2017) commercial anglers have harvested an average of 1,000,000 pounds of shark each year from waters off Florida. Florida’s recreational anglers over the past decade (2008-2017) have harvested an average of 477,000 sharks per year on the east coast and 723,000 on the west coast.
How are recreational fisheries catch-estimates made?
Historically, the National Marine Fisheries Service's Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey (MRFSS) estimated recreational saltwater catch and fishing effort for almost two decades (since 1979). These surveys were formally replaced with the improved Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) survey in 2008. This survey continues to monitor the relative size and impact of saltwater recreational fisheries in the United States. MRIP is composed of two independent, but complementary, surveys; one survey collects catch information and the other counts the number of fishing trips made.
Data on catch-composition (types and numbers of fish caught, kept and released, and measurements of fish kept) by fishing mode (shore, private boat or charter boat) are collected by interviewing saltwater anglers at the end of their fishing trips. The number of fishing trips made over a two-month period is obtained through random sampling by telephone of Florida residents. Estimates of the total catch of saltwater fish for each two-month period are then calculated from the catch-composition data collected by the field interviews and the number of saltwater fishing trips reported by Florida residents.
How are the commercial fisheries catch-data obtained?
Since 1986, Florida has used a mandatory reporting system to collect the marine fisheries catch and effort data used to monitor commercial fisheries in the state. Every time an angler sells saltwater fish, shellfish or other marine life to a wholesale dealer, the dealer records the transaction on a marine fisheries trip ticket and sends the ticket to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. During 2016, dealers sent over 211,000 marine fisheries trip tickets to the FWC. These data are compiled at FWRI for use in assessments of marine fish and invertebrate populations and for analyses that are useful for the management of fisheries. Other states in the southeastern U.S. have implemented trip ticket systems or are developing these systems for future implementation.
NOAA Fisheries Annual Commercial Landing Statistics by species and geographic area: