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Short Citation:
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 2023: AFSC/FMA/Observer Declare and Deploy (Resturcture),

Item Identification

Title: AFSC/FMA/Observer Declare and Deploy (Resturcture)
Short Name: AFSC/FMA/Observer Declare and Deploy
Status: In Work

The new Observer Program restructures and replaces what was originally considered an "interim program," which lasted for 23 years. Broadly speaking, under the interim program, vessels and plants paid for observers by the day at coverage rates specified in law based on days in a calendar quarter at-sea (not fishery as is often assumed) and on tons processed for shoreside processors. Under the interim program, catcher vessels between 60 and 125 ft in overall length were allowed to self-select which trips were to be observed. Because vessels less than 60 ft or those targeting Pacific halibut were not observed, the former static regulatory structure of observer coverage created not only an incentive for owners to change the length of their vessels (indeed a disproportionately high number of 124 ft and 58 ft vessels exist in the fleet), but also created a mechanism for owners, because of self-selected trips, to skew observer coverage towards trips with lower bycatch rates (e.g. pollock) and away from those with higher bycatch rates (e.g. most flatfish fisheries).


New regulations governing how observers are deployed into the fisheries of Alaska became effective on 1 January 2013. Amendment 86 to the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Amendment 76 to the FMP of the Gulf of Alaska establish the new North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program (Observer Program). The new regulations change how observer coverage is funded and the observer coverage requirements for vessels and processors. These changes will increase the statistical reliability of data collected by the program, address cost inequality among fishery participants, and expand observer coverage to previously unobserved fisheries. These changes are necessary to successfully manage Alaska's billion dollar fisheries industry.


The 2013 Observer Program is the result of the third attempt by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to restructure the interim program since 1990. This recent effort began with a 2008 Council problem statement, involved more than 53 individuals from five agencies, and took 5 years to accomplish. The new program places all vessels and processors in the groundfish and halibut fisheries off Alaska into either full or partial coverage categories. No operations are exempt from the new program. Vessels and processors in the full coverage category will continue to obtain observers by contracting directly with observer providers. Vessels and processors in the partial coverage category will obtain observers through NMFS, paying a fee on landings to cover costs.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None electronic monitoring
None goa
None gulf of alaska
None observer
None odds
None restructure
None trip selection
None vessel selection

Temporal Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None 2013

Stratum Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None partial coverage

Physical Location

Organization: Alaska Fisheries Science Center
City: Seattle
State/Province: WA
Country: USA

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Data Set Type: Database
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: Table (digital)
Entity Attribute Overview:

Modeled in Oracle Designer

Entity Attribute Detail URL:
Data Set Credit: Craig Faunce

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 232950
Date Effective From: 2013
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Blair, Julie A
Address: 7600 Sandpoint Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:
Phone: 206 526 4053
Fax: (206)526-4066
Business Hours: 0700-1630
Contact Instructions:



CC ID: 232960
Date Effective From: 2013
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Narita, Renold E
Email Address:

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 232962
Date Effective From: 2013
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Blair, Julie A
Address: 7600 Sandpoint Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:
Phone: 206 526 4053
Fax: (206)526-4066
Business Hours: 0700-1630

Point of Contact

CC ID: 232948
Date Effective From: 2013
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Faunce, Craig
Email Address:
Contact Instructions:



Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 232953
W° Bound: -160
E° Bound: -130
N° Bound: 60
S° Bound: 50

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 232954
Time Frame Type: Continuing
Start: 2013-01-01

This data set in an ongoing program

Access Information

Security Class: Confidential
Security Classification System:

Confidential under Magnusson Stevens.

Data Access Policy:

Made available to OLE, NMFS Staff with valid confidentiality agreements

Data Access Procedure:

Made available to OLE, NMFS Staff with valid confidentiality agreements, requests must be made through Ren Narita.

Data Access Constraints:

Confidential data may not be published in raw form

Data Use Constraints:

Confidential data may only be used for approved research.

Metadata Access Constraints:


Metadata Use Constraints:


Technical Environment


Oracle 11g database, APEX GUI

Data Quality


Trip log data is entered by authorized fishers with a user account and password.


The trip logging is validated against delivery reports



Completeness Measure:


Quality Control Procedures Employed:

Daily review by inseason staff.

Data Management

Have Resources for Management of these Data Been Identified?: Yes
Approximate Percentage of Budget for these Data Devoted to Data Management: Unknown
Do these Data Comply with the Data Access Directive?: No
Is Access to the Data Limited Based on an Approved Waiver?: Yes
If Distributor (Data Hosting Service) is Needed, Please Indicate: N/A
Approximate Delay Between Data Collection and Dissemination: N/A
If Delay is Longer than Latency of Automated Processing, Indicate Under What Authority Data Access is Delayed:


Actual or Planned Long-Term Data Archive Location: No Archiving Intended
If To Be Determined, Unable to Archive, or No Archiving Intended, Explain:

The dataset is never final and subject to ongoing review, archiving of completed data not possible.

Approximate Delay Between Data Collection and Archiving: N/A
How Will the Data Be Protected from Accidental or Malicious Modification or Deletion Prior to Receipt by the Archive?:

RAID 1 Drives, Tape backup, Complete data histories maintained


Lineage Statement:

Trips are logged by authorized fishers. A random number is generated which is compared to the desired coverage rate and applied to determine observer coverage

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 18871
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:18871
Metadata Record Created By: Doug Turnbull
Metadata Record Created: 2013-04-30 18:37+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2016-05-18
Owner Org: AFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2016-05-18
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2017-05-18