Department of Environmental Conservation

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Recreational Catch Sampling

Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS)

Enroll in New York's free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry and check the Recreational Saltwater Fishing Limits before going fishing!
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The Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS) is part of NOAA's Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Data collected from APAIS is used to help manage marine fisheries.

Visit NOAA's website (link leaves DEC's website) to learn more about the other components of MRIP.

APAIS in New York

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Starting in December 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (NYS DEC) Division of Marine Resources assumed responsibility for conduct of APAIS in New York state.

New York, along with other Atlantic Coast states from Maine to Georgia, have partnered with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) (link leaves DEC's website) to run the APAIS. NYS DEC oversees APAIS field data collection for New York and ACCSP is responsible for coordination of data from all of the Atlantic Coast States.

Survey Design

Site Selection

APAIS field staff are assigned to visit specific recreational angling access sites throughout New York's marine district. There are currently 366 active sites in New York throughout Suffolk, Nassau, New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Bronx, and Westchester counties. Sites are selected randomly, with a bias toward those with higher fishing pressure (see Fishing Pressure below). Nearly 1,000 site assignments are completed in New York each year.

Fishing Pressure

Fishing pressure is used to describe fishing activity at a site. The fishing pressure is characterized numerically based on the estimated number of anglers who have completed a recreational fishing trip during a specific time interval at that site (see Sampling Intervals below). Pressures are categorized by month, type of day (weekend or weekday), time interval and fishing mode (private boat, charter boat, or shore). These pressures are routinely updated in NOAA's Public Access Fishing Site Register (link leaves DEC's website) to accurately reflect fishing activity.

Sampling Intervals

Atlantic Cod Being on a board being measured
Atlantic cod being measured by APAIS field staff.

Field staff are assigned to visit sites during one of the following 6-hour time intervals:

  • 2:00 AM- 8:00 AM
  • 8:00 AM- 2:00 PM
  • 11:00 AM- 5:00 PM
  • 2:00 PM- 8:00 PM
  • 8:00 PM- 2:00 AM

Assignments are scheduled as follows:

  • Full 6 hours spent at a single site OR
  • 3 hours spent at Site 1, with the remaining time spent at Site 2

Field staff must stay regardless of activity; this ensures that any potential activity during that time period is not missed and that an accurate snapshot of fishing activity is captured.


All marine recreational finfish anglers who have completed fishing for the day are eligible to be interviewed for the survey. Each trip and each angler represents a unique data point for that day, so repeated participation is important and appreciated!

Survey Questions

There are a variety of survey questions including, but not limited to: fishing gear, time and area fished, demographic information, targeted catch, discarded fish, and kept fish. All fish that are available at the time of interview are to be identified, weighed, and measured. All data remain strictly confidential and are never used for regulating compliance.

Headboat Sampling

In addition to monitoring recreational fishing at access sites, APAIS field staff also ride onboard randomly selected party boats (head boats). Similar to site assignments, the APAIS is conducted with each eligible passenger onboard the boat. Additionally, discarded fish from a subset of anglers are identified and measured.