More than 280 participants representing more than 39 countries attended the 9th International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference this past June in Vigo, Spain. NOAA Fisheries leadership, Observer Program staff from across the country, and fisheries observers attended on behalf of the United States. U.S. participation in this international conference is important, as emphasized by Sam Rauch, the agency's Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs: "The IFOMC is critical in exploring how different countries deal with fisheries monitoring and observing, and sharing experiences to ensure best practices worldwide."
While participating in the first panel of the conference, titled Why Monitor Fisheries and What to Monitor, Rauch highlighted the value of domestic fisheries and the important role observers play in sustainability of U.S. fisheries. "Fishing is an important industry in the United States, worth over $200 billion in sales and supporting over 1.5 million jobs. Observers collect essential biological data to ensure that our fisheries are sustainably managed for the long term," he said. Rauch was on the panel with representatives from Chile, South Africa, Portugal, Solomon Islands, and Canada.
Panels and Posters
During the 4-day conference, oral presentation panels covered both human observing and
The interactive evening poster session featured 96 presentations that complemented the panel sessions. A panel of judges scored each of the poster presentations. First place was awarded to Daroomalingum Mauree and Jeromine Kompe Fanjanirina from the Indian Ocean Commission, who focused on the Regional Scientific Observer Programme in the South West Indian Ocean. Second place was awarded to Bobbie M. Buzzell, who focused on her experiences as an observer in the North Pacific Observer Program. Third place was awarded to NOAA Special Agent Jaclyn Smith from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's Anchorage office for her poster on observer safety and harassment in Alaskan fisheries.
Safety Is a Priority
The third day of the conference featured three workshops on the European Union Landing
More to Come
Because IFOMC attendees expressed interest in a U.S.-based fishery observing and monitoring conference, the National Observer Program is planning to organize a symposium at the 2019 American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada. The next IFOMC meeting will be hosted by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources in Tasmania in early 2021.