PORT CANAVERAL, Florida — If you go saltwater fishing in this state, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) researchers want to learn about your experiences and opinions through the new online Florida Saltwater Fishing Panel. Anyone with a valid Florida saltwater fishing license or Persons with Disabilities Resident Hunting and Fishing License, as well as exempt residents age 65 and older, can sign up to take part in the panel, which begins this summer.
Registered panel members will be asked to complete one Web-based survey per month for a one-year period. The surveys will each take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. While most of each survey will focus on the angler’s last saltwater fishing trip in Florida during the previous month, surveys may also include questions about current or proposed fishing regulations, licenses, conservation of fish stocks and management effectiveness.
FWC researchers will use survey data to estimate the economic impact and value of saltwater fishing in Florida, to assess the importance of fish hatcheries, to estimate fishing effort and catch rates and to describe angler behavior.
The FWC will take information gathered from panelists into consideration as part of management and policy-making decisions.
Panel members will receive a coupon from West Marine for each monthly survey they complete. Participants will also have the opportunity to review summary results from the monthly surveys.
More than 200,000 anglers who provided their email addresses when they purchased their licenses have already received emails asking them to register for the panel. Those licensed anglers who have not received an email can sign up at www.fwcsaltwaterfishingpanel.com, by clicking “Register for the Panel.” Interested anglers must register by Aug. 20 to receive the September survey. However, new members will be accepted throughout the duration of the panel’s operation.
As the panel is fully Web-based, a panel member must have Internet access and a current email address.