Reef Fish Survey (RFS)
Marine Resources Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction (MARMAP) &
Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program South Atlantic (SEAMAP-SA)


The RFS samples offshore habitat between Cape Hatteras, NC, and the St. Lucie Inlet, FL. The map shown indicates Chevron Trap stations (red circles), Short Bottom Longline stations (blue squares), and Long Bottom Longline station grids (yellow rectangles) sampled during the 2016 sampling season.

RFS fishery-independent data are used to develop an index of abundance for each species collected. Typically, this is presented as a catch per unit effort or CPUE. For example, chevron trap CPUE is calculated as the number of fish per trap per hour that a trap soaks. This information is useful in stock assessments because it provides information about changes in the number of fish associated with habitats over the time period sampled with a standard methodology rather than one affected by changes in fishing practices as fishery-dependent data are.

In addition to CPUE data, the RFS also provides data for life history studies. All fish collected by trap or longline are identified to species, counted, weighed, and measured to the nearest centimeter in length to provide information on diversity, biomass, and length frequency, as well as CPUE. Some fish collected by traps and longlines are kept and used to determine age, growth rates, sex ratios, maturity schedules, and other life history data products.

For more information about RFS data products or to request use of RFS survey data, please visit