Back in June, as Fred Karsten and I were pulling his boat out at the Blish Pt. launch at Barnstable Harbor, we were approached by a friendly middle-aged gentlemen with a clipboard.
I guessed we were about to participate in a creel survey. The guy instroduced himself as being from NOAA and asked us if we had been fishing, then asked what we had been fishing for. When I said, "stripers," he didn't seem to know what they were and I immediately started wondering what was going on.
The entire survey was related to money we spent fishing. Considering the news of future fees for saltwater anglers in MD, I figured this was appropriate. At the end of the survey, he asked if I would be willing to participate further, by mail. I agreed.
This week, I received a large envelope from NOAA. It contained a multi-page survey on Cod/Haddock/Pollock charter fishing trips. Great.
But the wierd part was, the survey was primarily composed of comparisons of chartered fishing trips. Each page had the very specific details of two different trips including what you would catch, what you threw back and what you kept, how long you were out, and what it cost. You had to pick the trip you preferred, or decide if you would rather not do any saltwater fishing as an alternative. The trip costs included charter fees, bait, fuel, your transportation/lodging/etc.; everything but food and beverages.
I think there were six or more pages of these trip comparisons. The details for each trip were so different, it was difficult to make any kind of rational choice as to which one was "better." It actually frustrated me trying to decide how to begin to determine which trip was preferable. I thought it was the most bizarre survey I've ever participated in and I really couldn't see what kind of data could be drawn from it. I wish I had copied a couple of the pages before I returned it.
(By the way, I chose the "I'd rather not do any saltwater fishing that day" alternative to each pair of trips offered.)
Did anyone else receive this survey?
Why is NOAA concerned with whether I want to spend $213 on a 4-hour charter and keep 4 pollock, 2 cod and 3 haddock, throwing back 2 cod, 1 pollock and 3 haddock, or spend $391 on an 8-hour charter and keep 5 haddock, 5 pollock and 1 cod, throwing back 1 cod, 2 pollock and 3 haddock? (That really is representative of the comparisons in the survey.)
Are they going to be fixing rates for the charter guys?
Or is this just our tax money at work, as usual?