National Observer Program
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.