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.
Electronic Monitoring and Reporting
NOAA Fisheries produces world-class science to support our dual mission of maximizing sustainable fishing while achieving the greatest economic benefits to the nation. One way we accomplish this is by partnering with fishermen and other stakeholders to systematically integrate technology into our data collections and observations. 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....
Observers and fishermen live and work side-by-side on fishing vessels. Their roles in keeping fisheries sustainable are closely related too. Read more...
At-sea observers and monitors are dedicated professional scientists. They make a valuable contribution to our knowledge of fisheries and deserve our respect. Read more....
NOAA Fisheries is conducting an Observer Safety Program Review to assess procedures for keeping U.S. fisheries observers and at-sea monitors safe. Read more...
Updates from the
National Observer Program
- Cumulative Discard Methodology Review, November 7-9, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office
- Final Rule to Modify Observer Coverage Requirements for Catcher Vessels Participating in the Trawl Limited Access Fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
- Greater Atlantic Draft Omnibus Industry-Funded Monitoring Amendment Available for Public Comment (comment period ends November 7, 2016)
- 8th International Fisheries Observer & Monitoring Conference Concludes Successfully
- Final Rule to Modify Observer Coverage Requirements for Alaska Catcher Vessels