India is one among few countries where a system based on sampling theory is used to collect marine fish catch statistics. CMFRI initiated the process of collection of data on marine fish catch, effort, biological parameters etc. based on scientific principles way back in 1947. In 1957 pilot surveys were conducted along the 160km long Malabar coast by Indian Agricultural Research Statistics, New Delhi (presently Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute) based on a three stage stratified sampling. In 1959 CMFRI initiated collection of marine fish landings data along the west coast of India through a stratified multistage sampling design.
A team of experts in CMFRI then put persistent effort to develop the design to a stratified multistage random sampling design for the entire coast. This sampling design became operational in 1961. The sampling frame was prepared by collecting data on marine fishing villages, landing centres, crafts and gears etc. and it is periodically updated according to changes in the sector through all India frame surveys.