What is the National Observer Program?

Each year, 47 fisheries are monitored by observer programs logging more than 77,000 observer days at sea. NOAA Fisheries has been using observers to collect fisheries data since 1972. Observers monitor fishing activities on all U.S. coasts, collecting data for a range of conservation and management issues.

We coordinate observer program management through the National Observer Program within our Office of Science and Technology. The National Observer Program provides support to observer programs around the country and seeks to increase their usefulness in supporting the overall goals of NOAA Fisheries. Improvements in data collection, observer training, and the integration of observer data with other research are among the important issues that the National Observer Program works to achieve on a national level.