North Pacific Observer Sampling Manual

October 28, 2020

The Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division’s North Pacific Observer Program (Observer Program) collects, maintains, and distributes data for scientific, management, and regulatory compliance purposes in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands. The division is a component of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service. The parent agency for the National Marine Fisheries Service is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service is often referred to as NOAA Fisheries.

The Observer Program deploys over 400 Pacific scientific observers each year on a variety of commercial fishing vessels. The observers, in turn, provide the Observer Program with over 46,000 data collection days annually.

An observer's job is unique, challenging and constantly changing. This manual is an indispensable tool both for trainees and experienced observers. It should be used as both a textbook for trainees and a field reference manual for observers at sea. It contains the background, procedures, and protocols on how to collect a wide variety of information requested; and some ideas on how to cope with specific situations. The methods described in this manual have been tested and modified throughout the twenty-five years of the North Pacific Observer Program's existence and will continue to be refined using observer feedback and suggestions.

Additional Resources



Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on 10/28/2020

Alaska Groundfish Research Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis North Pacific Observer Program Observer Program North Pacific Observer Resources