North Pacific Observer Program 2020 Annual Report
This Annual Report provides information, analysis, and recommendations based on the deployment of observers and Electronic Monitoring (EM) systems by the North Pacific Observer Program during 2020.
Section 313 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 1862) authorizes the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service, to prepare a fishery research plan for the purpose of stationing observers and electronic monitoring systems to collect data. This data is necessary for the conservation, management, and scientific understanding of the commercial groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska management areas. Observers and electronic monitoring systems collect fishery-dependent information used to estimate total catch and disposition. Observers also collect biological and ecosystem data, including interactions with, and biological samples from, protected species. Managers use these data to manage groundfish and prohibited species catch within established limits. These data are also used to document and reduce fishery interactions with protected resources. Scientists use fishery-dependent data to assess fish stocks and provide scientific information for fisheries and ecosystem research and fishing fleet behavior. This data is also used to assess marine mammal interactions with fishing gear and to assess fishing interactions with habitat.
Each year, the Annual Deployment Plan describes the science-driven method for deployment of observers on vessels in the partial coverage category (50 CFR 679.51(a)) in the Pacific halibut and groundfish fisheries off Alaska. The following year, the agency provides an Annual Report with descriptive information and scientific evaluation of the deployment of observers and electronic monitoring. The Plan and Annual Report process provides information to assess whether the objectives of the Observer Program have been met. It also provides a process to make recommendations to improve implementation of the program to further these objectives.