As a result of the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act of 2006, the NOAA Office of International Affairs and the Office of Science and Technology began capacity building efforts in West Africa, Latin America and the Coral Triangle region. Several countries in West Africa requested assistance in improving their observer program or developing from scratch a brand new observer program. In 2008, NOAA partnered with the Ministry of Fisheries, Ghana to provide observer training in Tema, Ghana. In 2009 NOAA similarly partnered with the Senegal Direction des Pêches Maritimes to lead a two week long observer training in Dakar, Senegal.
As a result of the shared interest in developing, improving or expanding observer programs in the regions of West Africa, NOAA along with our African partners, have drafted an observer program manual. The manual is constructed in modules and intended to provide model procedures, protocols, and standardized data forms. The manual is intended to be flexible enough to accommodate the unique characteristics of the various fisheries and programs. Please feel free to use any or all parts of the document. We welcome feedback from all users on how to improve the manual as we continue to update its contents.