For more than four decades, we have used fishery observers to collect catch and bycatch data from U.S. commercial fishing and processing vessels, as well as from shore-side processing plants and “motherships” also known as receiving vessels. Our eyes and ears on the water, observers and at-sea monitors are professionally trained biological scientists gathering first-hand data on what’s caught and thrown back by U.S. commercial fishing vessels. The high-quality data they collect are used to monitor federal fisheries, assess fish populations, set fishing quotas, and inform management of those fisheries. Observers also support compliance with fishing and safety regulations.
Today, there are fisheries observer programs in all five NOAA Fisheries management regions: Alaska, West Coast, Pacific Islands, Greater Atlantic, and Southeast. All of these region-based programs fall under our National Observer Program, which allows us to address observer issues of national importance and to develop overarching policies and procedures to reflect the diverse needs of regional observer programs while enhancing data quality and achieving consistency in key areas of national importance.
North Pacific Fishery Observer Program
Northeast Observer and At-Sea Monitoring Programs
Pacific Islands Fisheries Observer Program
Southeast Pelagic Fishery Observer Program
Southeast Shark Bottomline Fishery Observer Program
Southeast Gillnet Fishery Observer Program
Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish and Shrimp Fisheries Observer Program
West Coast Groundfish Fishery Observer Program
West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program
California/Oregon Drift Gillnet Fishery