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What is a North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Brochure

November 26, 2015

Fisheries observers are biologists who work independently to collect a wide range of information onboard commercial fishing vessels and at shoreside processing plants receiving fish from Alaskan waters. Observer information is used by NMFS and partner agencies to manage commercial fisheries in the North Pacific. Observers are deployed by permitted providers for up to three months at a time.

Training to become a certified observer consists of a comprehensive three-week program held in Seattle. The curriculum includes safety while at sea, sampling methodologies, species identification, and data documentation requirements. It also provides information regarding fisheries management, pertinent fishing regulations, and life as an observer. Attendance, full participation in exercises, and a passing score on exams are necessary to successfully complete the classroom portion. In addition, trainees must be able to don an immersion suit in less than one minute and enter the water and climb into a floating life raft while wearing the suit.

Additional Resources



Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on 10/30/2019

North Pacific Observer Program Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Observer Program