The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) deploys fishery observers to collect catch and bycatch data from US commercial fishing and processing vessels. Annually 47 different fisheries are monitored by observer programs logging over 77,000 observer days at sea. NOAA Fisheries has been using observers to collect fisheries data from 1972 to the present. Observers have monitored fishing activities on all US coasts, collecting data for a range of conservation and management issues.
NOAA Fisheries coordinates observer program management through its Office of Science and Technology/National Observer Program (NOP). The NOP seeks to support observer programs and increase their usefulness to the overall goals of NOAA Fisheries. Improvements in data collection, observer training, and the integration of observer data with other research are among the important issues that the NOP works to achieve on a national level.
The 7th International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference was held in April 2013 in Viña del Mar, Chile. Read More....
Meet Aubrey Ellerston, a fisheries observer. The work that she and her colleagues do is critical to managing the nation's fisheries. Read More....
Recent advances in computer vision and facial recognition technology might soon allow for more efficient collection of fisheries data. Read More....
During FY 2012, NMFS carried out observer programs in each region, with 974 observers and over 83,000 sea days observed in 47 fisheries nationwide. Read More....
New regulations governing how observers are deployed into the fisheries of Alaska are changing observer requirements for vessels and processors Read More....
Updates from the
National Observer Program
- Final Rule to Implement Amendment 7 to the Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP, which includes EM via cameras
- Fisheries Innovation Fund 2015 Request for Proposals, which includes monitoring projects
- Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program (which includes fishery data collection grants) Application Period Is Open
- Proposed Annual Determination to Implement the Sea Turtle Observer Requirement
- NMFS Confirms 2nd Take of a Short-tailed Albatross
- New England Electronic Monitoring Project Final Report - Phase III
- NMFS Reports the Incidental Take of a Short-Tailed Albatross