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...
Threshold participation levels for electronic monitoring programs Read More....
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....
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....
Updates from the
National Observer Program
- PIR Observer Program eReporting (May 2016 Update)
- A Field Test of Fisheries Observer Sampling Methods for Estimation of At-Sea Discards
- Northeast Fisheries Observer Program Newsletter (Fall 2015)
- A Cost-Effective Discards-Proportional At-Sea Monitoring Allocation Scheme for the Groundfish Fishery in New England
- Catch and Bycatch in U.S. Southeast Gillnet Fisheries, 2015