first of three new or redesigned surveys designed to collect vital information on the operational costs and
culture of commercial fishing launches Friday August 10, when an annual vessel cost survey will hit the
The 2012 annual vessel cost survey can be filled out by hand and returned by mail, or completed online.
Tammy Murphy of NOAA’s Social Sciences Branch at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center is the point person on the multi-year effort. "Telling us more about your situation
will be voluntary and your responses are confidential," says Murphy, an economist. "Collecting this
information is absolutely essential to showing how fisheries, fishermen, and fishing communities are
faring as management and fishery stock conditions change."
The annual vessel cost survey, last conducted in 2009, has been significantly redesigned with the help
of fishermen. About 1700 vessel owners will receive a 2012 survey. Although that's not every owner, the
pool covers all the fisheries, gear types, and vessel sizes in the Northeast, to capture how these costs
Collected over time, these economic data will be used to evaluate proposed changes to fishery
management plans, provide a more complete picture of economic impacts from regulatory actions in the
Vessel owners can return the survey by postage paid envelope, or complete it online. The surveys are
also available in Portuguese or Spanish. Survey responses are confidential data, just like vessel trip,
observer, and dealer reports.
The second survey effort will start this fall using two different approaches: for vessel owners and one for
crew members. "We have limited information from vessel owners and really none from crew members on
how fishery regulations affect their everyday lives as individuals, as well as the lives of their family and
communities," says Murphy, "This effort is intended to start filling in those gaps."
In early fall 2012, about 800 permit holders will get the owner's survey, which will be sent by mail. It will
be available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and may be returned by postage paid envelope or filled
out online. The crew survey will be conducted face-to-face on the docks in fifteen ports in the Northeast
and Mid-Atlantic, with about 1300 willing participants. It will continue for a year, to capture seasonality and
Much of the data collection is new, so Murphy is aiming for a high return rate. "The more responses we
get, the more accurate our results can be. We want to capture differences across regions, fisheries, gear
types and vessel sizes, and that means we need to hear from every fisherman that is asked to participate
in these survey efforts" she said.
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