What We Do
We collect information from commercial and recreational fisheries and support the use of that information to inform fisheries science and management.
We bring the fisherman’s perspective into the federal process through collaboratively producing scientific information.
We strive to be a trusted presence among the fishing, scientific, and management communities.
Fisheries Monitoring and Operations Branch
We work directly with fishermen and their vessels to collect information on fishery landings and fishing operations. Our staff and observers accompany a subset of commercial fishing trips as observers or monitors. While aboard, they collect biological samples from the catch that are used for stock assessments and ecological studies. They also watch for interactions with protected species such as loggerhead sea turtles and harbor porpoises. They collect data reflecting:
- Fishing effort
- Catch kept for landing as well as that classified as bycatch and/or discarded
- Trip costs
- Vessel efficiency
We further support at-sea activities by:
- Processing the data and ensuring its quality
- Training and certifying observers and at-sea monitors
- Monitoring and sampling takes of protected species
- Implementing the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology
- Overseeing industry-funded observer programs
- Evaluating electronic monitoring systems
Training and Data Quality Branch
We provide certified biologists for at-sea fishery observing and monitoring. This kind of data collection requires significant training and skill to ensure that all data meet the high standards necessary to inform management decisions in our Northeast and Mid-Atlantic fisheries. We use a variety of innovative techniques to teach a wide range of subjects, including:
- Sampling methodology
- Data documentation
- Biological sampling
- Species identification
After each trip’s data is reported, our data processing staff thoroughly review it for quality assurance. They work with data collectors to address sampling issues and correct errors, ensuring that high quality data are available to stakeholders in a timely fashion.
Data and Information Systems Branch
High quality and representative data underpin effective fisheries science. We manage data collected directly from the fisheries, and develop modernized information systems to enhance our fisheries monitoring and research operations. We lead the development and/or maintenance of the following fisheries information systems or applications:
- Northeast Electronic Monitoring Information System
- Fishery Monitoring Portal
- Observer Trip Editing System
- Observer At Sea Information System
- Pre-Trip Notification System
- Observer Database System
These systems or applications support a wide range of fisheries monitoring programs in the region.
Cooperative Research Branch
We expand and improve the effectiveness of collaborative research throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England. This collaboration enhances the data used to make fishery management decisions and increases coordination, communication, learning, and trust among scientists, managers,and members of the industry.
We create opportunities to leverage expertise, research infrastructure, and unique field and analytical skills that further constructive collaboration within the Northeast and with diverse regional partners.
Emphasis is placed on working with industry to provide high quality fisheries and environmental data in near real-time to improve:
- The understanding of species distribution and environmental drivers
- The predictive modeling of these factors
- The precision of stock assessments
- The temporal and spatial resolution of multi-species catch and life history data
We are responsible for coordination, scientific and administrative oversight, peer review, and data archiving for NOAA Fisheries activities supported by Northeast and National cooperative research funds, as well as Congressionally funded non-governmental cooperative research programs.
Research Set-Aside Programs
Research Set-Aside programs are unique to federal fisheries in the Greater Atlantic Region. No federal funds are provided to support the research. Instead, research funds are generated through the sale of set-aside allocations for quota managed or days-at-sea managed fisheries. There are active programs under the Atlantic Sea Scallop, Atlantic Herring, and Monkfish Fishery Management Plans.
Jessica Stephen, Ph.D.
Amy Sierra Martins