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NOAA planning new survey of fishing boat operators

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The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is planning a new survey of recreational for-hire and charter fishing operators. NOAA announced in the Federal Register of Wednesday, June 4, 2014 that it is taking public comments on a proposed new For-Hire Survey. The announcement comes just a few days after NOAA announced it was planning a new Coastal Household Telephone Survey.

NOAA is required to survey anglers under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act to collect data to help manage fisheries. This proposed survey would collect information via several methods: telephone, the internet and log sheets. NOAA wants to ask fishermen about the time the spend fishing, what they catch and some information about themselves to see what type of person goes fishing for fun.

This survey would review 10 percent of the for-hire or charter recreational fishing boats. NOAA wants to ask about the number of trips each boat takes. It wants to ask operators to fill out log sheets to show how much time they spend at sea and what they catch. The survey will cover a week's time for each boat.

NOAA is taking comments on the idea until Aug. 4 about anything from the best ways to collect information to the use of the data to the time it would take for operators to provide it. Send your thoughts and suggestions to Jennifer Jessup, departmental paperwork clearance officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20230, JJessup@doc.gov. Request a copy of the proposed forms from Ana Valentin, (301) 427-8187. ana.valentin@NOAA.gov. After receiving comments, NOAA will have to seek routine approval from the Office of Management & Budget to use the form.

NOAA has designed a computerized telephone survey it plans to use to collect information from anglers. It would also give them the option to complete the survey online. It expects to survey 20,000 people. It says it will take about three and a half minutes to complete the survey either way. It plans to ask boat operators to fax back the logs.

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