National Observer Program Advisory Team and Safety Advisory Committee

A collaborative approach to priority setting and implementation.

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Nationwide Collaboration

Because of the broad and diverse role that observers and at-sea monitors play across NOAA Fisheries, the work of the National Observer Program is supported by the National Observer Program Advisory Team.

The team works with program staff to:

  • Identify issues of national concern to observers and observer programs.
  • Recommend or establish priorities for national research and problem-solving.
  • Support information collection and program implementation.

The team meets twice a year and is comprised of representatives from NOAA Fisheries headquarters programs, regional offices, science centers, General Council, and a liaison from the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Contact information for the National Observer Program Advisory Team

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Ensuring Safety and Professionalism

For observers to be effective, working conditions must be safe and professional. Since the inception of the observer program in the 1970s, We have continually worked to develop and institute world-class training and safety protocols. As part of this process, a Safety Advisory Committee advises the team on matters of observer safety, health, and welfare. The committee works to promote a safer and healthier environment for observers to work in and is responsible for developing and recommending the requirements necessary to fulfill the advisory team's national safety standards, including:

  • Spearheading and reviewing proposals on observer safety initiatives, along with monitoring and advising on any safety policies and programs which may affect observers.
  • Addressing specific safety issues through seminars/workshops, forums, and panel discussions.
  • Developing training classes and standards for observer programs’ safety trainers.
  • Creating and maintaining enforcement mechanisms to enforce safety-related policies for observer programs.

The Safety Advisory Committee consists of safety representatives from each regional observer program, the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, NOAA’s General Council, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Contractors with expertise in relevant technical issues being addressed by the committee may also be named to the committee by the advisory team. The committee meets at least twice a year by phone, and with in-person meetings at least every two years.

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More Information

For more information on the National Observer Program Advisory Team or Safety Advisory Committee, contact Liz Chilton, National Observer Program Coordinator, Office of Science and Technology (

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