Sampling strategies are developed based on the idea of ranked set sampling (RSS) to increase efficiency and therefore to reduce the cost of sampling in fishery research. The RSS incorporates information on concomitant variables that are correlated with the variable of interest in the selection of samples. For example, estimating a monitoring survey abundance index would be more efficient if the sampling sites were selected based on the information from previous surveys or catch rates of the fishery. We use two practical fishery examples to demonstrate the approach: site selection for a fishery-independent monitoring survey in the Australian northern prawn fishery (NPF) and fish age prediction by simple linear regression modelling a short-lived tropical clupeoid. The relative efficiencies of the new designs were derived analytically and compared with the traditional simple random sampling (SRS). Optimal sampling schemes were measured by different optimality criteria. For the NPF monitoring survey, the efficiency in terms of variance or mean squared errors of the estimated mean abundance index ranged from 114 to 199% compared with the SRS. In the case of a fish ageing study for Tenualosa ilisha in Bangladesh, the efficiency of age prediction from fish body weight reached 140%.