What We Do
Our division has the primary task of collecting information about fishing activity occurring in the Southeast Region and Atlantic high seas and making it available to support the needs of fisheries science and management. We coordinate with state, commission, and federal partners to collect information about recreational and commercial fishing. We also work with our partners to develop new and innovative solutions to improve the quality of the information we collect and the speed at which that information is made available. The information gathered through our fisheries observer, vessel and dealer monitoring, and dockside sampling programs comprise the Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s core fishery-dependent information.
The division supports the administration of the Cooperative Statistics Program between state and federal data collection partners, monitors the catches of quota-managed species, and disseminates information about fishing activity to scientists and managers. High-quality, timely, and accurate information is critical to inform the scientific advice developed by the center. This scientific advice supports the management decisions that ensure the sustainable use of our marine resources.
Catch Validation and Bio-Sampling
Our Catch Validation and Biosampling team supports data collection in the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions. We support the process for fishery stock assessments of domestic species that are typically conducted under the SouthEast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) by collecting dockside biological data on federally-managed fisheries. We also help to provide information on local fishing trends and conditions. Additionally, we serve as points of contact for local fishing industry stakeholders and foster collaborative relationships between science and industry.
Commercial Fisheries Monitoring
The long-term sustainability of our fisheries natural resources rely on effective monitoring of the commercial industry. Our Commercial Fisheries Monitoring team works on collecting information about commercial fishing fleets to characterize the fisheries with a focus on each vessel’s catch, effort, and the discards. Electronic technologies have made this process more accurate and efficient. For example, NOAA Fisheries has created automated programs that anyone can use to get a quick summary of U.S. commercial fisheries.
We provide the highest-quality commercial fisheries-dependent dataset possible in support of south Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic high seas fisheries. We support the stock assessments and fisheries management plans for the area and strive to continuously improve, strengthening data quality and resilience while reducing burden on the industry.
Our dedicated group of fishery observers work closely with the commercial fishing industry to collect data while on board commercial fishing vessels. Our observers cover commercial fishing vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Atlantic high seas. The data collected by observers contributes to making informed decisions on how to best manage these fisheries. Over several decades, the data that observers collect has grown from solely biological characteristics, of the populations targeted, such as length and weight measurements, sex, and reproduction information. Now it also includes important information on the incidental take of protected species and other bycatch.
Recreational Fisheries Monitoring
Our Recreational Fisheries Monitoring team collects valuable information from the south Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico through the Southeast Region Headboat Survey. The data collected provides many products to fishery managers that support stock assessment and annual quota monitoring for various reef fish and migratory species. Port agents collect dockside biological samples along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, which are used in life history studies that contribute to the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) and scientific journal publications.
Our team takes the catch-per-unit-effort data from logbooks to derive long-term fishery- dependent information on fish abundance, which assists in the long-term health evaluations of populations. We also monitor tournament fishing. The Recreational Billfish Survey and Atlantic Tournament Registry are the primary sources for U.S. recreational billfish tournament catch and effort data. Online reporting for Highly Migratory Species and biological sampling are critical for supporting stock assessments and monitoring international quotas.
Survey Design, Data Management, and Dissemination
The Survey Design, Data Management, and Dissemination team collects data from fishermen and works on the best avenues to publicize the information collected. There are two levels of surveys, fishing effort observations and biological surveys. Once all of the information is collected and sent to our team electronically, we communicate the data to the science community, fisheries, as well as the public. Regulations, seasonal fishery closures, and other major decisions for the industry are reliant on this compilation of data.
We also work on different progressive changes for collecting data through the Southeast Fisheries Science Center. We work to develop and improve the center’s validity of our data with new technologies and platforms. Some electronic platforms where we present our data include, Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR), and management councils.
David Gloeckner, Ph.D.
Dr. David Gloeckner serves as the Director of the Fisheries Statistics Division.