Coastal Fisheries Programme

Creel and market surveys:

A manual for Pacific Island fisheries officers

 prepared by the Pacific Community, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division 


This manual provides a guide to the design, planning and implementation of two types of surveys commonly used to assess and monitor artisanal and subsistence fisheries: creel and market surveys. The manual simplifies the conduct of these surveys by suggesting some simple approaches that could be applied by fisheries officers and built upon if more information is required for management or more locations need to be assessed. The focus is on a question-and-answer approach, only suggesting what might be necessary (and yet sufficient) to produce meaningful results using resources (time and money) sparingly. This is based on experience gained and lessons learned from past work and real examples of data that the authors of this manual have collected with the assistance of Pacific Island fisheries agencies.

This manual is intended for Pacific Island fisheries officers and managers. However, it will also be useful to a wide range of practitioners tasked with assessing and monitoring coastal fisheries resources in data-poor, tropical fisheries, including: staff from non-governmental organisations (NGOs); research institutions and universities; and international and regional organisations. The more people or agencies that use this standardised approach to collect creel and market data, the better the understanding of how finfish and invertebrate resources respond to fishing pressure and management approaches, which in turn allows for adaptive management measures as new results are made available from the data.


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Table of contents

1. Introduction

1.1 The role of surveys in fisheries management

1.2 Purpose of this manual

1.3 Who this manual is intended for

1.4 How this manual is organised

2. Designing a creel or market survey

2.1 What are creel and market surveys, and why conduct them?

2.2 Deciding which survey to use

2.3 What questions will your survey answer?

2.4 Defining the area for one sampling site

2.5 Ensuring your landings are replicates: Stratified vs. random sampling

2.6 Conducting a pilot survey

2.7 Optimising the survey design

2.8 Expanding the survey geographically and through time

2.9 Calculating the cost of your survey

2.10 Using a design tree to visualise and communicate your design to others

2.11 Logistics

3. Conducting a creel or market survey

3.1 Get to know your fish and invertebrates

3.2 Tips for interviewing fishers and vendors

3.3 Tips for measuring and weighing fish and invertebrates

3.4 Filling out the survey forms

4. Data entry and analysis to answer management questions

4.1 Data entry and quality control

4.2 Analysis of selected creel survey questions

4.3 Analysis of selected market survey questions

4.4 Reporting the results

5. Further reading

6. Appendices


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