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Conference Program

Monday     Tuesday     Wednesday     Thursday     Friday

The Host Organization

Download the detailed final conference program and abstracts of the oral presentations

Throughout the week

The Safety Room - Coordinators: John LaFargue and Mike Tork

Observer safety always gets top priority, and the Safety Room always gets rave reviews from conference delegates! Throughout the week a space at the conference venue will be dedicated to hands-on safety instruction and drills. This year, the safety room will showcase:

  • Observer safety gear and work-wear
  • Work–related diseases and injuries, prevention and treatment
  • Training for the trainers

Tools of the Trade -- Coordinator: Amy Sierra Van Atten

A new feature at this year’s conference will be the Tools of the Trade Room. This showcase will be dedicated to hands-on training in sampling, taking measurements, and electronic monitoring. The Tool Room will highlight:

  • Observer tools such as net mesh wedges, calipers, and ruggedized computers
  • Measuring environmental parameters
  • Measuring gear characteristics
  • Sub-sampling methods
  • Latest electronic monitoring technology

Monday June 20 schedule

Some people can’t wait to get started. The Steering Committee is pleased to offer great pre-conference events.

  • Observer Professionalism Working Group. 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Members will be contacted directly by the working group chairman with further details.
  • Data Extrapolation Workshop. 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. This full-day workshop will cover how discrete sets of data are extrapolated to represent the activities of an entire fishery and to support management decisions. The workshop coordinators are Lisa Borges from the European Commission and Vicki Cornish of the Ocean Conservancy. For more information, visit the data extrapolation workshop web page. If you are interested in the workshop, you must sign up for it on the registration webpage.
  • Vessel safety trainingVessel Safety Training. 12:00 – 5:00 p.m, off-site. The Northwest and Northeast Fisheries Science Centers will sponsor vessel safety training and boat dills. The training will include vessel orientation, completing a safety checklist, emergency procedures, and station bills. It will be highly interactive, educational and exciting. In addition to the boat drills, Damage Control Trainers from the US Coast Guard Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program will be on hand. Join us to learn about many vessel damage control subjects and to try your hand at patching ruptured pipes and hulls. You’ll learn lessons that may save your life, and you’ll stay cool on a summer day. If you plan to attend the Vessel Safety training, you must sign up for it on the registration webpage..
  • Moving Sushi, a Marine Resource Expedition. 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. The Marine Resource Expedition is trekking across 42 countries spread between Africa, Europe and Asia over 2 years, filming a documentary both above and underwater, uncovering the positive side to marine resource use and its conservation. Expedition leaders, Michael Zeljan Markovina and Linda Schonknecht, will share videos, photos, and stories from the expedition route as they film their holistic and objective documentary, link to Moving Sushi Marine Expedition website If you plan to attend the presentation, you must sign up for it on the IFOMC registration webpage.


Hotel and conference check-in, poster and exhibit set-up.

Evening event

Cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres, Holiday Inn by the Bay.

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Tuesday June 21 schedule

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Opening Remarks from the Conference Chair and dignitaries.

Keynote Speaker – Rebecca Lent, Ph.D

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Session 1. What are the different types of monitoring programs available for collection of fisheries information? Panel leader: Steve Kennelly, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Australia.

Drivers for different fishery monitoring programs: Why choose one method over another?

  • Influences of snapshot versus fleet-based versus individual-based monitoring goals
  • Benefits and obstacles to implementing complementary monitoring methods
  • Influences of rights-based management
  • Influences of protected species and ecosystem-based management

Session 2. How can fishery monitoring information be standardized and how can data quality be improved? Panel leader: Charles Gray, Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Standardization of data across different sampling programs
  • Improving data quality across all data collection methods
  • Integrated data collection and data management systems
  • Data limitations and scaling, especially when sampling is low

Evening Event

Cocktail party at the Portland Museum of Art external link to Portland Museum

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Wednesday June 22 schedule

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Session 3. How can fishery monitoring information be used in assessments and management? Panel leader: Jim Nance, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA.

  • Use of fishery monitoring data in stock assessments and development of management strategies
  • Use of fishery monitoring data in environmental assessments
  • Use of observer data for short-term snapshots
  • Evaluation of cost-effectiveness, in regard to sampling in low-value fisheries
  • How is fishery monitoring data used to support ecosystem-based management?

Session 4. How can fishery monitoring information be used to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations? Panel leader: Mark Showell, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.

  • Concurrent sampling of data for both scientific and compliance purposes
  • Best practices for use of fishery monitoring data in enforcement activities
  • Practices to be avoided when using fishery monitoring data in enforcement activities and infringement procedures
  • Observer obligations for reporting fishery regulations infractions
  • Evidentiary value of fishery monitoring data
  • Electronic monitoring and privacy issues

1:00 – 4:30 PM

Session 5. What factors should be considered when addressing access to fishery monitoring information? Panel leader: Dennis Hansford, Office of Science and Technology, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA.

  • Access to and confidentiality of data collected through public versus private funding
  • Access to proprietary and fishing operation information
  • Tools for accessing confidential information
  • Tools for proper data storage

Session 6. What are the major factors impacting fisheries observers? Panel leader: John LaFargue, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA.

  • Issues affecting observers and the completion of their duties while deployed
  • Observer liability and compensation for injury/death
  • Interactions with crew and conflict resolution
  • Occupational health and safety, harassment, diet, fatigue, sleep deprivation, stress
  • Sampling methodologies
  • Managing a complex work load
  • Compensation
  • Work schedule uncertainty

4:30 - 6:00 PM

Poster presentations with light refreshments will be held in the Casco Bay Room.

Evening events

(Optional events with more details will be provided soon on the website.)

  • Sunset schooner cruise with the Portland Schooner Company external link to Portland Schooner Company
  • Shopping excursion to Freeport external link to Freeport information. Be sure to stop in at L. L. Bean external link to LLBean.
  • Self-guided micro-brewery tour at the Greater Portland and Casco Bay Region Breweries

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Thursday June 23 schedule

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Session 7. How can self-reported data by the fishing industry be improved for use in assessments and management? Panel leader: Lisa Borges, European Commission, Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Belgium.

  • Issues regarding self-reported programs (emergent issues and methodologies, assurance of data quality, industry participation, funding)
  • Use of reference or study fleets
  • Protocols for industry training
  • Credibility of self-reported data
  • Appropriate uses of self-reported data
  • Audit methods for self-reported data

Session 8. What specific issues are important to the fishing industry regarding fishery monitoring? Panel leader: Amy Sierra Van Atten, Northeast Fisheries Observer Program, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA.

  • Impact of new innovative fishery management strategies on data collection activities (e.g., New England sector management)
  • Real-time bycatch management strategies
  • Sentinel fisheries or cooperative research as mechanisms to improve fishery monitoring
  • Use of trained vessel crew as observers
  • Use of fisheries data for certification and seafood traceability sector
  • Costs issues and risk-benefit analysis of industry-led fishery monitoring programs
  • Outreach processes for successful implementation of fishery monitoring

Conference Program Text Box

1:00 - 5:00 PM

Session 9. What specific issues are important to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding fishery monitoring? Panel leader: Vicki Cornish, The Ocean Conservancy, USA.

  • Promising partnerships
  • Overview of NGO roles in fisheries monitoring
  • Challenges for observers and monitoring from the NGO perspective
  • Informing the public on seafood choices and influencing the social acceptance of fisheries
  • Influencing fishery monitoring requirements
  • Influence through litigation and political processes
  • Provision of research and scientific advice
  • Assisting in the development of best fishing practices
  • Provision of funding for fisheries resource issues
  • Access to monitoring data and related privacy issues

Session 10. How can observer capacity be developed and/or expanded? Panel leader: Andrew France, Observer Services, Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand.

  • Building observer capacity and retaining experienced observers
  • Risks of increasing coverage levels too quickly
  • Flexible employment arrangements
  • Breadth of observer expertise/experience

Evening event

Conference Banquet -- A Maine lobster bake at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute external link to Portland Museum.

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Friday June 24 schedule

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Session 11. What are the monitoring issues with rights-based management? Panel leader: Teresa Turk, Office of Science and Technology & Office of International Affairs, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA

  • Unique challenges to secure access and enforcement in rights-based managed fisheries
  • Monitoring costs and who bears them
  • Trade-offs between rights-based and open access management
  • Increased pressure on observers, potential for intimidation and bribery, and the effect on data quality
  • Steps to structuring and implementing successfully monitored rights-based programs
  • Are rights-based management systems equitable to participants and the public?

Session 12. How can electronic monitoring be used to improve data collection activities? Panel leader: Howard McElderry, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd, Canada.

  • Use of innovative technologies for collection of fishery monitoring data
  • Problems and limitations of electronic monitoring
  • Use of electronic monitoring in enforcement actions
  • Cost comparisons of electronic monitoring versus more traditional sampling programs
  • Web cameras, boat counters at ramps, and other tools/innovations

1:00 PM

Concluding Session. Panel leader: Dennis Hansford, Conference Chair, Office of Science and Technology, National Marine Fisheries Service, USA.

The Conference Chair and a diverse panel of delegates will offer their perspectives on IFOMC 2009 and thoughts on the future of the conference. The session will include audience discussion.

3:00 PM


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The Host Organization

The 2009 Conference will be hosted by and is receiving principal financial support from:

hosting organization NOAA, Silver Springs, MD, USA

For more information:

IFOMC 2009 Conference website
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service
NMFS Office of Science and Technology

Still have more questions? Please email us at

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