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What is the National Observer Program?

NOAA Fisheries has been using observers to collect fisheries data since 1972. In 2019, 850 observers monitored 54 fisheries, logging more than 71,600 observer days at sea through regional observer programs around the country. The National Observer Program provides support for the specific needs of regional programs while developing policies and procedures at the national level to best fulfill NOAA Fisheries’ mission. Improving data collection, setting observer training standards, and integrating observer data with other research are among the important issues the National Observer Program addresses.