Inform Stock Assessments & Fishery Management
Observer data directly inform stock assessments to monitor the health of fisheries. Fisheries managers utilize observer data to set catch levels, maintain healthy fish populations, and rebuild overfished stocks.
Explore New or Smaller Fisheries
The fishing industry constantly evolves as new technology is developed and new markets open. Observers are there to collect baseline data for managers to determine if resource could be - or still is - fished sustainably.
Recommend Sustainable Seafood
FishWatch is a NOAA Fisheries tool that provides up-to-date information and facts about U.S. seafood, so consumers and businesses can make informed decisions and be pointed toward sustainable choices. Observer data help assess the state of the fishery, determine impacts to habitats, and evaluate bycatch for FishWatch.
Support Science & Research
Every year, we receive requests for non-confidential fisheries data for use in research from government agencies, the commercial fishing industry, and academic institutions across the country. From 2015–2019, the program processed over 300 of these data requests.
Enhance Special Collections
Due to their specialized training and equipment, observers offer a unique opportunity to support new research or fill data gaps by collecting biological samples. Observers help promote long-term sustainability of fishing ecosystems by working collaboratively with fishermen, scientists, and resource managers.