The Catch Log
The 6th International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference (IFOMC) this past July was a great success, and we are pleased to have the permission of the conference organizers to pre-publish a selection of conference contributions here in the Fall 2009 Mail Buoy. As with Mail Buoy editions following past observer conferences, we are dedicating this edition to a selection of noteworthy conference presentations (many of which are by fisheries observers) that have importance on the lives and livelihoods of fisheries observers. The pieces that were 6th IFOMC presentations are denoted as such with some designation as to whether they were presented during a panel session or as a poster at the conference. The presentation abstracts and overviews published here may be without certain pictures, tables, and graphs exhibited during actual presentations. The soon to be published 6th IFOMC proceedings will fully document all conference presentations. Keep your eye out for it on the IFOMC website.
Though we are unsure of the numbers of observers in attendance at the 6th IFOMC in comparison to prior Conferences, we think that observer involvement and the amount of activities directed at observers did increase for this one. Not only were there a great deal of posters authored by observers at the conference, but many observers gave verbal presentations on panels and/or contributed at workshops (i.e. the Observer Professionalism Workshop). We applaud the efforts of 6th IFOMC Chair Dennis Hansford and the IFOMC Steering Committee for ensuring a high level of observer participation at the 6th IFOMC and are grateful to have the opportunity to further expose that participation by publishing many of those presentations here.
The following three 6th IFOMC presentations were authored by APO Board members:
Keith G. Davis1, Alicia Billings2, Ebol Rojas3
Fisheries Observer/APO, USA1, Lotus Web Design and
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
In May 1995, five Fisheries Observers
waiting for vessel assignments out of
Summer 1995: The first Mail Buoy, the
1996 - 1997: the
· Advocate for and increase awareness of Observers’ rights
· Gain a voice in the political mechanism that drives Observer Programs
· Build an awareness that Fisheries Observers are an essential component to the sustainable management of resources
· Erika Acuna, Stock Assessments, NOAA; Steve Copps, Senior Policy Analyst; NOAA; Kim Dietrich, Natural Resources Consultant; Tracey Mayhew, Observer Union Representative; Mandy Merklin, Environmental Consultant; Suzanne Romain, Marine Biologist, Independent; Gillian Stoker, Graduate Studies Student; Teresa Turk, International Observer Program Coordinator; NOAA.
Historical Overview (Conference History):
· North Pacific SDM: “real and apparent conflicts…”
· Retention: “high turnover rate may indicate that observers feel discouraged and unmotivated by their working conditions.”
· Safety: “observers in some programs could be fired and replaced for refusing to board a vessel they considered unsafe.”
Observer Bill of Rights (OBR): The idea to
establish an OBR started with the
· National Observer Support Standards
· Safety issues and Incentives to improve safety
· Evaluating Contractor Performance
· Challenges of Effective Observer Training
Jerry Dzugan concluded a 3rd Conference session by paraphrasing Sir Walter Scott: “It’s not data you’re gathering, it’s risk.”
· Conflict of Interest: “Explicitly define professional duties of all participants… ”
· ObserverNet: “online forum to discuss topics such as sampling techniques, data use, vessel safety and accommodations, and compensation.”
· Heightened Observer Program Standardization and Communication
· Membership on Observer Professionalism and Observer Safety Working Groups
· Short-story Book project proposal
· Ecosystem-based Management
· Mail Buoy: important avenue for disseminating fisheries information for 14 years
· Letter Writing: input into rule changes that influence the lives of Observers
· Observer Recruitment and Retention Study (2005): Contracted by the US National Observer Program (NOP) – Later formalized into NOP Report
· Mission Statement: the Association for Professional Observers (APO) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to strengthen observer programs through advocacy and education. Our goal is to facilitate the exchange of fisheries information while providing an important source of fisheries observer program and fisheries observer data-use information. It is our intention that the results of our activities may encourage the recruitment and retention of professional observers and foster the best quality observer data for the purposes of conservation and the responsible management of marine living resources.
Liz Mitchell: President; Dave Wagenheim: Vice
President, ObserverNet; Keith Davis: Secretary, Mail Buoy Editor; Alicia Billings: Treasurer, Web Master; Ebol
Rojas: APO Board, Associate Mail Buoy
Editor; Mark Wormington: APO Board; Brad Justin:
Accommodate the APO’s
Optimize the utility of
· Help APO Members become more involved
· Education and Outreach
§ Support the dissemination of educational information
§ Increase and improve the utility of fisheries resources available to the public
§ Reach out internationally among stakeholders
o Primary Projects:
§ Mail Buoy newsletter; 906 Subscribers
§ Eyes on the Seas, collection of observer stories
· Observer Data
§ Provide resources regarding issues and take action upon issues related to: public access to Observer data; collection protocols; training and data quality control standards; service delivery model structuring; and, rules that impact the independence and integrity programs
§ Public Access to Observer Data
§ North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program Overhaul
§ Implications and Trends of Electronic Monitoring
· Observer Health, Safety, and Welfare
§ Address issues such as: working conditions and emergency procedures; safety training, rules, and standards; drills, inspections, compliance and enforcement; and, protection of observers’ livelihood
§ Catalogue of Observer Casualties, Injuries, and Near Misses
§ Globally Outlawing Observer Harassment and Interference
§ Implementation of an Observer Bill of Rights
· Observer Labor and Professionalism
§ Identify initiatives associated with fostering heightened observer professionalism
§ Address issues that have bearing on the fair and equitable labor rights of Fisheries Observers.
§ North Pacific Groundfish Observer Union Negotiation Survey, For 2010 Contracts
§ Implementation of an Observer Bill of Rights
Outlook, from Members (Feedback Survey Results):
· Observer Professionalism Central: on-line location that acts as a job site where observers and contractors/providers from around the world can meet. Observers can post a profile with their education level and experience.
Build Greater Overall Stability:
work towards building greater financial and administrative stability within the
organization so that the
Outlook, from Board:
· Business Plan: establish a business plan (2 year), designed with multiple options
· Fund Raising: membership recruitment, grant writing, source funding options.
· Staff: currently we are 100% volunteer run. We would like to have the funding to hire at least one part-time employee.
· Fisheries Conservation Need Statement:
o “Global fisheries are in crisis: marine fisheries provide 15% of the animal protein consumed by humans, yet 80% of the world's fish stocks are either fully exploited, overexploited or have collapsed.” - Camillo Mora, Management Effectiveness of the World's Marine Fisheries (2009)
· Professional Observer Need Statement:
o The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reports that “There is a direct relationship between the professionalism and morale of observers and the quality of the data they collect,” and the integrity of an observer programme is directly linked to the professional ethics of its observers.
Elizabeth Mitchell; Fisheries Observer/
This presentation was scheduled to be presented during a 6th IFOMC Panel Session; however, Elizabeth (Liz) Mitchell was unable to present due to unforeseen circumstances:
The Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006 has strengthened the privatization of public fisheries resources while simultaneously restricting public access to observer monitoring data from those vessels. This inhibits independent scientific review of fishing impacts on marine ecosystems. Fisheries are often located on unique seamount and canyon ecosystems that may also be important for other fisheries.
In 1994, NMFS created an Administrative Order (NOAA AO 216-100) that protected “data that are identifiable with any person”. NMFS developed their own guideline, commonly known as the “3-Boat Rule” to protect the privacy of individual vessels. This allowed public access to observer data unless three or fewer vessels were fishing within a 102 nm area. Now, NMFS is in the process of updating these guidelines to reflect the increase in privatization of public resources into the hands of fewer and fewer “entities” (which include corporations).
The new rules would protect the identity of corporations,
which have the potential to own entire quotas for a fishery and may have
several vessels fishing that quota. Also
being considered by NMFS is an increase in the number of these protected
“entities” to more than three and to increase the square mileage. Through the
This will surely hinder independent review of observer data to evaluate harmful fishing practices. Therefore we will be forced to depend entirely upon the decisions made within NOAA. If these changes come to pass, public trust in fisheries observer bycatch data would be vastly diminished. While individual fishing quotas have their place in sustainable fishery management solutions, it should have never gone to this level, where corporations not only dictate what, how, and where observers monitor their fisheries, but also how the data is distributed.
It is only through transparency that the public develops trust in NOAA decisions to end overfishing and marine ecosystem destruction. Both of these are mandates under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Unfortunately, while the Act mandates sustainable fisheries management, it simultaneously destroys public trust by preventing independent assessment and evaluation of our progress.
541-344-5503 (phone), email@example.com (e-mail)
Alicia Billings; Lotus Web Design and Consulting/APO;
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
The marine environment is complex, with webs of interdependency between and among species that are just beginning to be examined. With every research project and new technology, this statement is confirmed. Along with investigating these complex relationships, traditional methods of defining stocks must take into account the effect that these relationships have on the future of sustaining both the resource and the fisheries.
Community Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) is an
alternative approach to the traditional “top down” management practiced in the
The Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) is a nonprofit
organization based in the small (1200 population), rural community of Port
During the last 3 years, the author was employed as a West Coast Groundfish Observer in Port Orford and with POORT as the project director. Through both talking with the fishers and learning the inner workings of how fisheries are managed on the West Coast, it became apparent that these fishers sincerely want what is best for the resource to sustain their livelihood. It was also apparent that the ability to manage local stocks is hindered by the traditional management practices because of confidentiality restrictions and lack of confidence in small datasets.
This is a preliminary report based solely on these experiential knowledge interviews to shed light on the need for further examination of the use of observer data in CBFM. The information regarding policies and management is the viewpoint of these fishers, right or wrong, and is used because it is important examine the perception alongside the reality when discussing CBFM to determine how best to use local knowledge in the management of our oceans.
Marine organisms are true citizens of the world. They don't abide by state, federal, or
international boundaries because they are bound by their own biology and ability to live and move in favorable habitats. Management lines on the west coast are created on maps with latitudinal lines bisecting habitats and creating a potential for two different regulation structures upon the same fishing grounds.
A striking example of this is seen when looking at the Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA), a large-scale closed area extending the length of the entire west coast, with different boundaries for different gear types. Observer data is used to determine the rates of discard for several key species, including the Yelloweye rockfish. Yelloweye is the most restraining species in management plans for the nontrawl fisheries around Port Orford. Because of its rebuilding status, its capture as bycatch is restricted to near nothing.
If the data collected by observers show the bycatch rates of Yelloweye are higher than optimal, managers have the option to flex the RCA through east-west boundaries based on fathom curves. In an attempt to better serve regional differences in the both bycatch rates and habitat, several large blocks delimitated by arbitrary latitudinal lines are available to segment the boundary changes.
For the 2009-2010 management cycle, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) looked at bycatch rates for the Yelloweye rockfish in the limited entry nontrawl sablefish fleet. From this, it was decided to move the RCA western boundary out to 120 fathoms in the management block that bisected a key traditional fishing ground north of Port Orford. Experiential knowledge from several limited entry sablefish fishers pointed to the lack of Yelloweye capture in that area. Because of restrictions in obtaining place-based observer records, there was no way for the fleet to gather bycatch rates for their grounds, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) does not have the directive to go after such small scale information. Without this evidence, however, the fleet could not make its case to the PFMC.
There are two main reasons for this lack of place-based
examination and use of observer data: confidentiality restrictions and the lack
of large datasets. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
is the leading authority governing fisheries management in the
With half of this vital sablefish ground lost and the loss of the salmon fishery for the second consecutive season, fishers in Port Orford who were unable to move into other fisheries began to struggle. The willingness to trust management authorities has been decreased because of this, and is talked about regularly over morning coffee and down at the dock.
Ensuring confidentiality of fishing vessels is important. The observer program would not be tolerated by fishers if the data collected was open to the public. But the devastating
socioeconomic effects of large-area restrictions that are not appropriate should be avoided to preserve both the social structure of fishing communities and their economic strength. By figuring out how to preserve fisher confidentiality and confidence in the observer program, as well as finding innovative ways to use small datasets, observer data can be a step closer to its full potential as the leading collection method for fishery-based information.
*** The “Observer Biography Series” is a quarterly profile of an observer who has done something normal or new (but noteworthy) in the course of their career. Do you know of an observer whom you would like to see profiled in our next issue? Contact the APO to nominate him or her to be profiled! For this edition we are profiling an observer program instead of an individual observer.
Álvaro Segura H.; Bycatch Program Officer; Central America office - WWF
We are gathered in a Central American Pacific port. The reason that brings us together is to train observers on the data collection methodology needed in a regional project to reduce marine turtle bycatch in artisanal longline fisheries.
As the training begins, the participants seem timid. They are ten fishers who have been recruited for their potential to collect information and their interest in carrying out tasks that will help meet project objectives. We must chat and interact with them to make them feel comfortable and this is achieved as the course develops.
These future observers know how to identify the species by their common names and they are knowledgeable about fishing: the best season for fishing mahi-mahi or other target species, the best baits, the time of day to set the long-line, etc. Anecdotally, one of them mentions that he used to make a living taking turtle eggs from beaches. These observers are going to be part of a team that is covering nine countries.
This scene is repeated every time new observers are incorporated into the program; most of the participants are from fishing communities. We are beginning to understand why fishers want to be observers when we see the context of the fisheries they work in. The main job in the ports where they live is fishing and other kinds of work are limited. Most of them are crew members and not vessel owners. They have to join the workforce to bolster their personal and family incomes, and the cycle repeats itself.
The vessels are artisanal, with limited space for coexistence and working; under these conditions the crew must endure the pressures of on-board living along with those of working in a fishery (poor fishing, low prices, high operational costs).
By Alvaro Seguro; WWF
At the end of the training, once they know how to record the information on the data forms and they know how to identify the turtle species by their physical characteristics, and above all, when they have learned the techniques for proper handling of turtles that are captured accidentally, they feel happy and special. They feel a growing sense of pride, of personal growth, and recognition that the difficult years of earning a living from fishing are now somehow eclipsed.
This training is the beginning of a new stage in their lives; they will be boarding the artisanal vessels to work as observers. In most of the ports, regardless of their size, artisanal fishers are not familiar with the work done by observers.
One circumstance that had an effect on training fishers from fishing communities to be observers was the generalized assumption that people who take data are “spies” who could harm the fisheries and close them down. Therefore, one of the first tasks of the observers will be to explain their work with their colleagues and earn their trust for their new position.
By Miguel Imbach; WWF
After several trips, the observer feels comfortable with his new work and he is recognized in the community for his work. The crew members of the vessels he works on know the importance of his task and have learned the techniques for handling the bycaught turtles. And when the observer leaves the vessel to start the cycle over on another boat, the crew is equipped with the tools for pulling the turtles out of the water, opening their mouths and cutting or removing the fishhooks.
The project is an initiative that has been implemented for five years in nine Latin American countries with Pacific coasts. The data collected are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of special circular fishhooks in reducing the bycatch of marine turtles that incidentally interact with fishing devices. Another priority task for the observers is to teach crews the proper techniques for handling turtles on board.
One of the main contributions of the project has been getting the artisanal fishers to understand how the data collection benefits them. They learn that this is an essential task because it contributes to the knowledge about their fishery, information that is badly needed. They also learn to appreciate working in cooperation.
By Lucas Pacheco; WWF
A challenge for the project is to continue this work until most
fishers know these techniques and use them routinely. However, the cost of
carrying out a project of this kind is high and acquiring sufficient funds is
difficult. For now, we hope that scenes like these will continue in the
different countries of
In the program for the reduction of marine turtles in the artisanal longline fisheries of the Eastern Pacific, we have learned that achieving transformation means working to convince fishers individually, one by one. The agents of change are the observers who, through their work on board, are showing captains and crews the benefits of the use of best practices. In this program we are convinced the observers should be elevated to a professional level as they are in other international observer programs, through training that is adapted to the reality of these fisheries and the conditions of the vessels, some of which are less than ten meters in length. The challenge is that they become part of the global community of observers with standards for quality that will ensure the professionalization of this activity in artisanal longline fisheries.
Alpha A. Bangura; Deputy Director of Fisheries; Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, republic of Sierra Leone
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
Sierra Leone lies on the West Coast of Africa is bordered on the West, North and Northeast by the
Republicof Guinea, Southeast by Liberiaand Northwest by the Atlantic Ocean. The country is endowed with abundant marine resources in the form of coastline fishing of 500km and over 200 species of fin fish and shell fish of which 80 species of scientific and economic importance are commonly encountered. The fishery sector provides food, employment and income. The Artisanal (small scale) fishery is important for the sustainable development of coastal communities and the overall fisheries contributes 9.4% to the GOP.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is the constitutionally mandated institution for the management and conservation of the fisheries and all living aquatic resources. In enforcing this constitutional mandate, it established and maintains Fisheries Observer program responsible for the collection of fisheries data from industrial vessels and major dockside communities. The Observers and dockside workers collect data on fishing events such as fishing area, fishing time, total catch, species combination etc.
Data collected is analyzed to provide vital information needed for making scientifically informed decisions for the conservation and management of the fisheries resources. Such management decisions include the effort control measure (access limitation), input control, (mesh size), area limitation (Insure Exclusion Zone), import/export obligation, biological control, MCS etc. Enforcement of fisheries law is carried out by the Maritime Wing (MW) of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces which is poorly resourced in terms of patrol boats/vessels, logistics and adequate finding.
Notwithstanding the usefulness and importance of MCS activities, the observer program in Sierra Leone is faced with institutional weaknesses such as poor funding to support effective fisheries observer program, shortage of trained observers, poor working conditions, lack of logistics and centralized infrastructural base (fish harbor) to provide dockside services. It is therefore recommended that the observer program be adequately supported in terms of proper employment and attractive conditions of service for observers, appropriate training, provision of necessary logistics and adequate funding from government, bilateral and multilateral donors/institutions.
Lastly, the Maritime Wing (navy) which ensures enforcement and compliance be adequately provided with appropriate patrol crafts/ boats, accessories and training.
Keith Davis; Fisheries Observer/APO;
The Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) have added the three North Pacific species of albatross, Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus), Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) and Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) to Annex 1 of the Agreement.
ACAP is a legally binding international treaty which requires signatory governments to take action to reduce albatross and petrel bycatch in fisheries, and to protect breeding colonies.
I contacted Kim Rivera, NOAA Fisheries National Seabird Coordinator, to ask her if she knows how this listing will impact fisheries management and observer program practices in the
and beyond. What she could share with me at this time is that “the inclusion on the ACAP Annex 1 list means that these 3 North Pacific albatross species can now be considered within the work of ACAP's various working groups (population status and trends, breeding sites, seabird bycatch, taxonomy); and we already have some US participants on those working groups.” US
Look for a more-detailed assessment by Kim Rivera in regards to the implications of this listing in a future Mail Buoy newsletter.
Alexander J. Woods; New Zealand School of Fisheries, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology; Nelson, New Zealand
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
If an observer cannot be placed on a particular vessel because conditions on that vessel may constitute a risk to the observer’s health and welfare there is a risk that any fishing activities of that vessel that might pose a threat to the Quota Management System (QMS) will go unobserved. If the vessel operator says that only male observers can be carried because of deficient toilet or bathing facilities or lack of space this then compromises the equal opportunities obligations of the employer (Ministry of Fisheries) as well as making observer placement more difficult.
It was clear that the work of the Ministry of Fisheries Observer Programme was being compromised by the range in nationality, age and design of some of the charter vessels operating in New Zealand and in October 2007 the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) and the Seafood Industry Council (representing stakeholders and quota owners) formed a joint Foreign Charter Vessel (FCV) review group tasked with identifying and addressing the risks associated with the current operation of FCVs in New Zealand’s (NZ) Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).The perceived risks posed by the operation of some FCVs were two-fold:
MFish held the view that tighter control over the operation of FCVs was required. The review group was tasked with identifying potential solutions to these issues. However the scope of this paper is limited to addressing the risk to observer and fishery officer health and safety only.
These measures included:
The Review Group met twice in the first half of 2008 to consider feedback from vessel operators and resolved to improve safety on board FCVs by:
The review group met for the last time in May 2008 and in June MFish released its decision to industry.
The joint review group was of the opinion that this collaborative process had been successful and industry could work with the new observer standard and safety regime. The observer standard states that:
All aspects of this standard were to be fully adopted by I July 2009. Failing to comply with the Standard is an offence under the Fisheries Act 1996 and may lead to prosecution.
and Amy Van Atten²; National Marine Fisheries Service, National Observer
Program USA¹ and National Marine Fisheries Service,
A 6th IFOMC Poster Session Presentation:
Current Status and Challenges
Currently, there are several industry funded observer programs (e.g., North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program, Northeast-scallop, Northwest-hake) that pay for observer services. In all programs NMFS pays for administration, data management, in-season management and training. Sharing the program cost with fishers reduces the NMFS federal budget, but incurs significant management and oversight challenges using the current vehicle of permitting or approving observer service providers. Under the current system, companies that are interested in providing observers send the required information to NMFS. If NMFS determines that the company can provide the necessary services and fulfill the federal government requirements identified in regulation, a permit is issued or an approval is provided to the company. Once permitted/approved, if a company is non-compliant, the federal government can fine the company for its failure to follow the requirements. However the process to prosecute and assess a fine is lengthy and awkward. In the past, NMFS has encountered numerous problems with some observer service providers. One such company went out of business and leaving as much as $300,000 unpaid to observers for their services and leaving many observers at sea. In another example, an observer service provider did not notify NMFS of an observer being harassed and was fined $10,000. Although the company was eventually fined, the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement spent a considerable amount of time prosecuting the case. Finally, the process of de-permitting a company is not timely and has never been attempted despite shortfalls and problems with many observer service providers.
Three separate reports listed below have identified the current 3rd party observer program structure as an institution that is in need of major improvements and some reports recommend prohibiting the proliferation of this program structure.
The no-cost contracting vehicle would use a practiced and proven method to procure government services and to allow NMFS effective and timely management of its program. The new arrangement would create a nocost contract between NMFS and the observer service provider. The contact could be fishery specific and managed by regional program. Instead of NMFS providing a permit/approval to the service provider, the agency would have a no-cost contract available for the service provider in which to engage. The service provider would undergo a similar process that is conducted in a competitive bid for a contract. The service provider would provide a proposal responding to the request to provide observer services. NMFS could limit the number of observer service providers allowed, or could allow as many observer service providers that meet the criteria. Once the proposal was reviewed by NMFS and accepted, then the observer service provider would be allowed to provide observers for coverage in the required fishery. Under such a mechanism, the contract could be suspended or terminated if the contractor was not performing as required. Currently the majority of observer program requirements (e.g., eligibility, training, briefing, debriefing, coverage plan, etc.) for industry funded programs are promulgated in the federal register (FR). The process of making any changes or additions to the program is lengthy and time consuming. To streamline the process, program requirements currently in the FR would be transferred to a contract. This structure would provide more direct control over the performance of service providers, clearly define expectations, minimum standards and reporting requirements. The no cost contract also offers the following advantages:
***We greatly depend on volunteered news and updates regarding observing in your area of the world. Please, submit stories and commentaries from any well-established, new, or proposed national, regional or international observer program, from any stakeholder perspective, around the global.
Ryan Shama1 and James Benante2; Fisheries Observer, West Coast Groundfish Observer Program1and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission2
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
Since so much of the success of any observer program is dependent on the quality of its observers; and, since experience can play a major role in dealing appropriately with the multitude of sampling situations and issues that arise, it should follow that retention of quality, experienced observers leads to better data collection.
In addition to improved data quality, there are many other benefits to increasing observer retention, such as reduced training effort, time saved during the debriefing process, familiarity with the West Coast fleet, and the potential for recruitment of experienced individuals for lead observer and staff positions.
In the WCGOP, we employ both seasonal and year round
observers along the coasts of
In order to examine how retention affects the quality of sampling in the WCGOP, we have taken a look at observer evaluations over a four year period (from 2005-2008). Bi-monthly evaluation notes were used to quantify the number of “Problems” per debriefing period, and these “Problems” were used as a proxy of performance. However, keep in mind that these “Problems” could be anything from issues with sampling methodology, to issues with documentation or calculations. So, this data does not take into account the severity of the individual issues. Furthermore, within this 4 year span, we only used the eight month period when both year-round and seasonal observers were employed, as the workloads and fisheries observed were essentially the same for both groups during this time. By tracking the occurrence of “Problems” during these periods, we can measure the quality of data collection in relation to experience (Figs. 2 & 3).
Figure 1: WCGOP Percent Retention by Year
In order to maintain an experienced observer core, the WCGOP has taken several steps to increase retention of both year-round and seasonal observers. These include: a competitive salary, the potential for year-round employment and other advancements, health insurance, optional retirement funds (401k), bonuses for months with high activity, an Annual meeting and Annual Safety Briefing which serve as forums for the discussion of issues important to WCGOP observers, and a dedication to the improvement and effectiveness of trainings.
Integrating observers into the fishing communities was a goal of the WCGOP and led to the creation of year-round positions. In an attempt to create job advancement opportunities and support for observers, the WCGOP also created lead observer positions in each port group. This allows the program to offer observers three tiers of employment (seasonal, year-round, and lead observer positions). Furthermore, the WCGOP has filled nearly all debriefing openings with prior WCGOP observers.
Communication and a sense of ownership are considered essential for retaining observers in the WCGOP. Through staff surveys and open group discussions, WCGOP observers are given the opportunity to provide input; therefore, helping to shape the future of the program.
Figure 2: Experience vs. Problems by Group
One of the tools used to gauge our observers’ satisfaction with the program is the annual Observer Survey. This anonymous survey is handed out yearly to all observers and covers a broad range of topics, providing staff with a great deal of useful information that can be used to improve staff/observer relations.
There are a number of both positive and negative responses which are consistently seen when looking at the Observer Survey over the past several years, each of which could be a factor affecting both retention and attrition. Some of the overriding themes over the past few years’ surveys are:
Survey results are discussed at the WCGOP Annual Meeting, one of two yearly meetings which include both staff and year-round observers. These meetings provide opportunities for WCGOP observers to address issues, as a group, directly with program staff. In addition, observers are able to interact with their peers in a professional setting, as opposed to social settings.
Figure 3: Experience vs. Problems by individual
A major portion of the Annual Briefing is dedicated to safety awareness and this has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from our observers. Through lectures, hands-on activities, and drills the WCGOP strives to give every observer the tools and skills necessary to keep them safe, while performing their duties both on land and at sea.
As a result of these efforts, we have seen an increase in overall retention (Fig. 4), as shown earlier, and this has resulted in a steady increase in the level of experience of our year-round observers.
In closing, regardless of the steps taken to increase retention, there are other obvious and perhaps unavoidable factors, such as injury, burn-out, and performance issues, which will always contribute to attrition. So, while inexperienced observers are, and will always be an important part of the WCGOP, it appears that our experienced, year-round observers perform better and are more easily retained.
Figure 4: Year-Round Observer Experience Accumulation over the Years
Doughtie; Fisheries Observer, Southeast,
A 6th IFOMC Poster Session Presentation:
In 2008, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) implemented a sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) research fishery in order to collect samples and data essential for future stock assessments. In this 100% coverage, bottom longline fishery, observers collect biological samples and data from various shark species (Hale et al. 2009). Consequently, the sampling requirements mean more at-sea sampling than what is normally required during observed trips.
During sandbar research fishery trips, observers collect biological samples from sandbar and other shark species by employing cutting knives, zip lock bags, markers, and tags to dissect, store and label:
The fishing crews have to work closely with the observer while fishing in the research fishery. The observer has the right to stop the fishing operation in order to properly observe the haul back. The observer can work the samples up in different ways, and it is mainly determined by the fishing crew on each boat:
The fishing boats are on average around 40 feet in length and have a small sampling area. The distance from sampling to the hauling area is usually around 4-10 feet. The observer knows approximately how far apart each hook is on the line during the haul back. Therefore, the observer is able to sample the shark while at the same time keeping an eye out on the hauling.
There are different biological sampling requirements throughout the year and the samples are used to update the life history studies of sandbar sharks (Hale et al. 2009).
With all sampled sharks, an actual length measurement is required. The most important aspect of this fishery, is that observer injuries have not dramatically risen with the increased sampling requirements. Several factors include:
Observing in a research fishery can result in observers taking more at sea samples without compromising observation of the haul back. If done with crew cooperation, the sampling can be successful without endangering the observer any more than there has to be, while fully observing the haul back. It should be noted, that due to the additional sampling requirements, the chance of observer injury increases no matter how safe an observer is. The fishing crews in this sandbar research fishery are very helpful because they want NMFS to have all the samples and scientific data possible, as this will help in the accuracy of the stock assessment.
Pulver1and Elizabeth Scott-Denton2; Fisheries Observer,
Southeast USA1 and NOAA Fisheries,
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
mandatory observer program for the reef fish fishery was initiated for federal
waters of the
The program randomly selected vessels quarterly based on season, gear, fishing effort and region3. Permit holders were contacted by certified letter and, if necessary, by phone if no response was received regarding the certified letter. Once onboard, the sampling protocol was to obtain latitude, longitude, depth, environmental parameters and detailed gear information for each set during the entire trip. The observers identified every fish caught to species level if possible. Length and weight for each fish was obtained prioritizing undersized and non-target species first as to not effect mortality of released fish. The condition of fish when boarded were recorded based on appearance, whether alive or dead, and if there was a stomach/air bladder and/or eyes protruding. Finally, a fate was obtained for each fish caught and the mortality of discarded species was determined based on a sink or swim methodology once the fish was released. All protected species interactions were documented as well.
on archived data from August 2006 through May
Haggard; Fisheries Observer, North Pacific and Pacific Islands,
A 6th IFOMC Poster Session Presentation:
Monitoring (EM) as a means of collecting from commercial fisheries is an
approach that is currently being evaluated for possible use in
Benefits of EM
Limitations of EM
EM technology presents many positive options for fisheries management but the limitations, such as potential for malfunctions and inaccurate documentation of catch, must be taken into consideration. From my experience with this vessel, EM would not replace all functions currently undertaken by observers but may prove valuable as an alternate catch monitoring tool, or as a supplement to enhance observer functions.
Lengares; Fisheries Observer, Northeast,
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
are often fielding questions from the general public regarding seafood
purchases. As an objective scientific
source of information, the observer can seem an unbiased opinion compared to
other resources. Not enough resources
are available for observers to turn to when confronted with a question
regarding seafood choices. Observers in
the Northeast region of the
A survey of the general public was conducted regarding the type of seafood people purchased and why. Survey participants were selected randomly with the only requirement being that the respondent purchased seafood “regularly” defined as having purchased seafood for consumption within the last two months, and having intention to purchase seafood in the future. Surveys were then compiled and the percentage of positive responses was calculated. Once determined, the data gathered was compared to the available information on three websites, Fish Watch (http://www.nmfs.gov/fishwatch/), Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector (http://www.edf.org/home.cfm), and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (http://www.montereybayaquarium.org). Websites were chosen by performing an internet search for a site that would assist consumers in making educated decisions regarding seafood purchases. This helped determine if the needs of the people being surveyed were being properly addressed by the websites. Additionally, a survey was conducted with observers operating out of the Northeast Observer Program, U.S.A and employed by A.I.S., Inc. to determine if they felt their was a need for more accessible sources of information, and if they had experienced people turning to them as Fisheries Observers to assist in their seafood choices.
Results from the public surveys showed that; 91.16% of people listed taste as a reason for choosing a particular type of seafood, 64.02% listed price, 40.19% listed possible presence of mercury or other pollutants, 25.70% listed sustainability of the fishery, 22.90% listed a recommendation from someone else, and 6.07% listed unspecified other. Of the surveys returned 19.16% of the people responded that they had heard of the National Marine Fisheries Service Fisheries Observer Program, and 17.29% had heard of at least one of the three websites examined. When given the following description of the program, 78.04% of survey respondents indicated that they thought the program would provide them with information to assist them in their seafood choices.
“The objectives of the Fisheries Observer Program are to collect operational fishing data, biological data, and economic data from the various fisheries. Additionally observers monitor interactions with protected and endangered species to ensure continued survival of these animals.”
Of observers surveyed, 90.91% would like to see more resources made available, and 72.73% responded that they had heard of at least one of the three websites examined. 59.10% of observers surveyed have been asked questions regarding seafood choices since becoming an observer. Of surveyed observers 54.55% responded that they felt being an observer gave them an added insight in to fishing industry, where 45.45% felt that they only see a small portion of the industry and the information that they collect was not extensive enough to use as a definitive source.
Based on the feed back from the surveys, the general public sees the observer program as a possible source of information for their seafood choices. Many of the topics addressed by the public surveys were available on the websites, but only a small percentage of the public had heard of the websites. Observers felt that on one hand, they had an insight to the fishing industry, but that it was a small part and did not necessarily reflect the status of the fishery as a whole. Considering that observers knew of the websites, but still felt that they would like to see more resources made available indicated that websites do not offer enough of a solution. During surveying, the general public often commented that they would not likely go to a website to look for information, and that it would be more useful if readily available.
Possible solutions to this problem include better training, and more resources readily available to observers. As part of the training course for the Northeast Observer Program, observers are trained in conflict resolution as it relates to captains and crew. There is no training however in dealing with the general public. Incorporating resources for observers during the training period may alleviate some of the issues that they confront once they enter their positions. The observer program has to maintain a level of neutrality to preserve objectivity making it difficult to recommend resources that may not be government approved. A newsletter to observers may provide a solution. If observers are given information supported by the program, they can feel confident passing this information along to others.
Tuttle and Cassandra Donovan; NOAA Fisheries,
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
Recent developments in the at-sea Pacific hake fishery have led to catch restrictions on several bycatch species which have changed the nature of the fishery and necessitated changes in the At-Sea Hake Observer Program (A-SHOP). In addition, increased interest about the types and quantity of data being collected by the observers has driven changes as well.
The result is an increasingly complex work load, which now requires the observers to be more involved in making minute-by-minute decisions about their sampling, and to prioritize and manage their time. The increase in data collection has created new challenges for the observers and has required the A-SHOP to make changes in the sampling protocols, provide new sampling tools, and to modify aspects of the observer training.
Historically, observers have collected vessel and haul information, species composition samples, marine mammal and endangered species samples and sighting data, and biological data from the target species. Recent additions to the data collection include a significant increase in species composition sample sizes, biological data on an additional seven bycatch species, coded wire tag data and samples from salmonids, genetic samples on two different species, and occasional special projects for additional data.
In the past, the observers were generally able to complete all of their assigned duties for almost every haul. However, with increased sampling demands, this is no longer the case. Observers are a very hard working group of people, and most of them find it difficult to not attempt every task that is assigned, on every haul. Prioritizing data collections and emphasizing that not all tasks are going to be manageable on all hauls has proven to be a challenging idea for some observers.
The A-SHOP has tried to ease the sampling burden in six distinct ways.
Figure 1. Average species composition sample size by year.
Figure 2. Biological data collection for hake and rockfish bycatch by year.
The A-SHOP is continually evolving and changing to help the observers adapt to the increased sampling demand. The primary goal is to help ensure that the highest quality data is collected, along with a reasonable maximum amount of data, without causing observer fatigue.
***This section highlights pieces regarding initiatives meant to foster the health, safety, and general welfare of Fisheries Observers. If you would like to share with us an important aspect of observer professionalism, please contact us.
Steve Todd; Fisheries Observer; West Coast, USA2
A 6th IFOMC Poster Session Presentation:
Fisheries observer safety training is very thorough in preparing observers for worst case scenario situations; but what about the more benign hazards, like threats to hearing. The hazards that threaten these senses and the possible solutions to insure protection against such perils are rarely covered in observer training or safety related information.
As part of this study, a sound level /decibel meter will be used on eight representative vessels covered by observers in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program (WCGOP) to monitor typical vessel operational noise from such sources as the engine, the hydraulics, and on-board equipment.
The study’s objectives are to present noise levels recorded from the vessels in this study, to illustrate to observers the hidden hazards of our occupation, and inform them of the precautions they can take to better protect their hearing while allowing them to continue to collect high quality data.
Biologists who have made a career out of working as fisheries observers are subject to many dangers at sea. Most of these dangers are very clear while others pose a hidden risk. Loss of hearing is one of these risks. A career working with and around industrial commercial fishing machinery has the potential to adversely affect the hearing of fisheries observers.
Hearing and sight are integral to the work duties associated with fisheries observers and are often taken for granted. My goal with this project is to inform the observer community of the covert dangers encountered with our job that have the potential to damage our hearing. I also intend to advise the observer community on how to better protect ourselves while capturing high quality data working at sea and maintaining a high quality of life on land.
Materials and Methods
Quest NoisePro DLX dosimeter (Fig.1) was used to measure sound in decibels (dB)
from the West Coast Groundfish fleet. The dosimeter is a small device equipped
with a microphone that was attached near ear level on the observers’ foul
weather gear. (Fig 2) The study period ran from March 2009 through June, 2009;
vessels selected for observer coverage during the corresponding period were
utilized for this project. In total, noise recordings from eight vessels were
collected. The vessels selected ranged from
and wood. The vessels ran on diesel power, although one vessel with a gas outboard engine was included in the study.
Noise from the engine, generators, and hydraulics were measured and recorded from work and living areas utilized by observers during normal work conditions. Noise recording durations on selected vessels ranged from a few minutes to multiple hours. The individual sets were later extrapolated to eight hour intervals to determine noise dose readings; the average noise readings, and maximum reading (in dB) encountered per trip were recorded in Table 1.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the maximum permissible noise level (100% noise dose) for general industry, as defined by its Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), is eight hours at 90 dB. Persons subject to prolonged noise levels of 85 dB or greater however, are considered to be at risk for hearing loss, and it is recommended that they wear ear protection. Ear plugs can reduce noise exposure by up to 25 dB, and ear muffs up to 30 dB. Emissions less than 75 dB are not considered to be a threat to hearing.
WCGOP vessels and corresponding gear types from this study produced very distinctive results (Table 1). The area of greatest concern on trawl vessels proved to be sampling area on the back deck when the hydraulics were engaged during haul back and gear set. Engine noise in the house and bunk areas produced the highest db readings on longline vessels.
Average dB readings during the course of this study provide evidence that the observer community that works in the WCGOP, and the commercial fishing fleet, are at risk for hearing loss (See Table 1). A more thorough study of this kind would provide a better understanding of the risks to hearing observers may experience. Table 2 shows permissible noise levels as defined by OSHA (29 CFR 1910.95); prolonged exposure to noise levels in excess to the levels listed in the Table 2 will result in gradual and progressive hearing loss. The first symptom of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is typically Tinnitus: a ringing, hissing or booming sensation in the ears. If the duration of exposure to damaging noise is short, tinnitus can subside in a matter of hours or days. Prolonged exposure of noise at damaging levels does not give the ear a chance to recover, and may result in gradual hearing loss. Chart 1 provides reference values for common noises. Up to this point, many of the concerns regarding hearing loss were anecdotal and based on assumptions of personal experience. This study aimed to document the noise produced on commercial vessels of the WCGOP. The results of this study , support the need to include hearing protection as assigned observer gear. Fig.3 shows two examples of over the counter ear plugs; Common sponge type ($2), and custom molded ear plugs from Westone ($80).
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
fishing is an inherently dangerous profession, as repeatedly documented by the
Historical data of occupational fatalities, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was reviewed in order to highlight the dangers of the three most dangerous occupations from 2002-2007. The number of fatal work injuries/employment* 100,000 was calculated to get a fatality rate. Fishing vessel losses and fatalities were also reviewed from United States Coast Guard districts in the GOM versus the North Atlantic and Bering Sea from 1992-2007.
the course of 16 years, 1,903 American flagged fishing vessels were lost. 57%
of the lost vessels occurred in the three areas of interest- the Bering Sea,
IFMOC Poster Presentation by Sandra Vieira, Alaskan Observers Inc. / NOAA Fisheries West Coast Groundfish Observer Program / Northwest Fisheries Science Center / Seattle, WA., U.S.A.
Click on the link above to view the poster in .pdf format
***This section highlights initiatives associated with fostering heightened observer professionalism and addressing issues that have bearing on the fair and equitable labor rights of Fisheries Observers. If you would like to share with us an important aspect of observer labor and professionalism, please contact us.
and Jen Paton1; Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.,
A 6th IFOMC Panel Session Presentation:
Some key challenges faced by our At Sea Observers include; difficult lifestyle, difficult crew interactions, work and personal life stress, and the perceived lack of professional and/or personal growth. Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. has developed a variety of programs and services to help our staff overcome these challenges.
Effective communication and conflict resolution is part of our three-week training course. It is designed to help boost the Observers’ confidence levels when they encounter difficult crew interactions. Other topics help the Observer identify their own stress triggers and ways to manage stress. Scenarios’ based training provides an opportunity to prepare the Observers for some of the real-life situations they may encounter.
Health and wellness programs are offered by Archipelago to provide support to full-time equivalent staff and their families. Beyond standard benefits packages there are a number of wellness benefits that Observers are encouraged to utilize. Many of these benefits can be accessed while they are in port between assignments when it is often needed most. The package reimburses a number of what we call “good for the head” benefits, including massage treatments, acupuncture, and various alternative therapies. One of the more popular aspects is the annual reimbursement for healthy living activities such as gym memberships, fitness classes or personal interest courses.
Archipelago has had a Critical Incident Peer Support (CIS) program in place since 1998. The initial goal of the program was to provide timely support to employees who are involved in critical incidents at work. As the program evolved it was realized that work related incidents are only a part of our employees overall well being, and often support is provided for personal issues rather than work related issues. An external service provider is contracted to provide training to the volunteer peer support team, consisting of program staff, supervisors, and fellow observers. The peer support team is used to assist employees and their families with obtaining the professional counselling and support that they need. There are a number of different options that observers can use to access the professional counselling services including a 24-hour emergency phone line, in-person counselling and email counselling.
Archipelago recognizes the need to be flexible in how we schedule Observer staff deployment. The standard is a 24 day rotation in one of three main ports, followed by 7 days off at home. During the 24 day deployment Observers average three, 5-7 day assignments. Another option for observer staff is to relocate to one of the main deployment ports. Port residents have greater access to work, and are able to be at home in between assignments. Archipelago also employs several casual or part time staff. These individuals are called upon for special projects, and during peaks in activity. Archipelago’s staff are employees rather than contractors, so Observers are free to change the model they work under as their needs change. Giving Observers the option of which model they work under provides them time they need for their personal lives. From a program management perspective, having Observers in all of these categories can be very beneficial for meeting fluctuations in activity caused by weather and market conditions.
Keeping staff motivated and rested ensures quality data collection and high-levels of service to our clients. Allowing leaves of absence for attending school or other types of training has been effective at restoring staff. Archipelago also provides long-term time-off for either travel or family commitments, where the employee may return to work at the same rate of pay and seniority.
Archipelago also conducts dockside monitoring and electronic monitoring work. Providing training for at sea Observers to work within Archipelago’s other programs promotes work diversity, and allows at sea observers to supplement their work at sea. The cross training helps with temporary staffing solutions when these other programs require staff.
Recognizing Observers for their service, hard work, and contributions is a key component to maintaining a long-term commitment from staff. We have one, five and ten year milestone recognition programs, the coveted 1000 sea day award, as well as a personal gift rewards program for exceptional performance.
Understanding the issues faced by observer staff is the first step to being able to provide effective support. Once the issues are identified, it is necessary to either create or find the appropriate support tools and resources required to help staff with their challenges.
Providing an effective and complete support system is key to ensuring a healthy and productive work environment.
Cassandra Donovan, NOAA Fisheries,
Click on the link above to view the poster in .pdf format
***This section focuses on the end-use (scientific product) of observer data and related fisheries science. If you would like to share an important use of observer data or provide a lead to scientific publications which utilize observer-collected data or exhibit related fisheries science, please contact us.
Allen Cramer and Cameron Hagstrom; NOAA Fisheries;
A 6th IFOMC Poster Session Presentation:
possible consequence of climate change is an alliteration in species
distribution ranges. However, identifying such alterations can be difficult.
Since 2001, the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program (WCGOP) has deployed
fisheries observers year-round, along the contiguous West Coast of the
climate change is expected to have an impact on marine biodiversity and species
distribution (Murrawski, 1993).
Observers collect depth and fishing location data for each haul or gear set. Historical range and depth data for all species encountered to date were added to the database. This allows the program to query for any species that fall outside the historical parameters. The resulting data set included records for both the set and retrieval depth/location when both fell outside the normal range. The most conservative value (i.e. – the latitude or depth value closest to the historical limit) was used. Data for which only the set or the retrieval fell out of range were eliminated as there is no way to be sure the captured specimen was from outside of its historical range/depth. Also, highly suspect identifications were omitted. Finally, depth data for pelagic species were disregarded as these were likely captured in the water column during set or retrieval.
Changes in depth were more prevalent than changes in latitude. Far fewer pelagic species appeared in the data. This is to be expected as we do not typically observe mid-water fisheries in our program. Of the geographic expansions, 7 had been verified but no vouchers were retained. Latitudinal expansions ranged from a few miles to 400 for one rare species that, although the specimen was not collected, described such detail that the identification is likely correct. All pelagic fish had expansion of more than one degree latitude. Only 61% of the demersal species had expansions of more than one degree latitude.
The results indicate some species were observed out of their historical range. However, one cannot assume such changes are climate related at this time. Some of the records may have occurred because the historical data used is imprecise, giving only a general geographic area. It is also possible that some of the species had been in the areas observed, but overlooked. >The need to collect voucher specimens was evident.
This pilot project did not try to link the appearance of species out of their range with oceanographic data which would be necessary to determine if a correlation exists. The WCGOP has been studying the feasibility of deploying data loggers on vessels to capture temperature and depth information that will be haul specific. In the absence of physical data, yearly differences were examined for any trends. There was little of note, except that 2006 had about half the yearly average of records. During 2006, strong up-welling resulted in cooler water temperatures and less northward migration of pelagic species, and likely demersal species also.
In conclusion, several corollary benefits were noted with this project. First, it provided evidence that a few closely related species are being misidentified, allowing the program to focus more on these species during identification training. It will also allow WCGOP data quality control personnel to quickly identify and future misidentifications. Second, it identified the need to collect voucher specimens and provided a list of species on which to focus our attention. Finally, it has demonstrated the need to look for increases in species outside of their historical range over a long time period. It would also be useful to look for changes to where species density is greatest.
APO General E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Mitchell (APO President) email@example.com
Dave Wagenheim (APO V.P./ ObserverNet) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ebol Rojas (APO Vice President) email@example.com
Keith Davis (
Mark Wormington (APO Board) firstname.lastname@example.org
APO website www.apo-observers.org
ObserverNet (on-line observer forum) www.observernet.org
National Observer Program www.st.nmfs.gov/st4/nop
Intl. Fish. Observer and Monitoring Conference www.ifomc.com
AMSEA (Marine Safety Instruction) www.amsea.org
*** Submissions for the forthcoming Winter/Spring
2010 Mail Buoy are due by January 31st, 2009. The
Professional Observers (
 McElderry, H., Karp, W.A., Twomey, J., Merklin, M., Cornish, V., & Saunders, M. 1999.
of the First Biennial Canada/U.S. Observer Program Workshop.
 Link directly to the OBR document at: www.apo-observers.org/docs/ObserverBillofRights.pdf
NMFS. 2004 Proceedings of the Third International Fisheries Observer
Dep. Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-64, 192p. http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/ifomc2009/ThirdProceedings2002IFOC.pdf
 Mcvea, T.A, Kennelly, S.J. 2005. Proceedings of the 4th International Fisheries Observer
NSW Department of Primary Industries,
Note: None of these
 McVea, T.A and Kennelly, S.J. (ed.), 2007. Proceedings of the 5th International Fisheries
Conference –15 – 18 May 2007,
 Mora C, Myers RA, Coll M, Libralato S, Pitcher TJ, et al. (2009) Management Effectiveness of the World's Marine Fisheries. PLoS Biol 7(6): e1000131. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000131
Davies, S. L.; J. E. Reynolds (ed.). 2002. Guidelines for developing an at-sea
fishery observer programme. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 414.
 Pacific Fishery Management Council's Council Guide: http://www.pcouncil.org/guide/Guide-intropage.html
 NMFS Groundfish Closed Areas Website: http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Groundfish-Halibut/Groundfish-Fishery-Management/Groundfish-Closed-Areas/
 Short-tailed Albatross – species information: http://www.acap.aq/acap-species/view-document-details/503-inf-07
 Laysan Albatross – species information: http://www.acap.aq/meeting-documents/view-document-details/505-inf-06
 Black-footed Albatross – species information: http://www.acap.aq/acap-species/view-document-details/504-inf-08
 Read the listing here: http://www.acap.aq/acap-species/view-document-details/501-inf-04
 Read more about this announcement on the BirdLife International website:
 See this poster at: http://www.apo-observers.org/docs/Doughtie_IFMOC_Poster.pdf
 Hale, L.F., S.J.B. Gulak, and J.K. Carlson. 2009. Characterization of the shark bottom longline fishery, 2008. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-586, 23 p.
 Acknowledgments: All photos (included on the poster) courtesy of Southeast Fisheries Observer Programs (SEFOP), NOAA Fisheries Panama City, FL Laboratory. I would like to thank the National Observer Program for funding for this presentation. I would like to thank all SEFOP personnel for their assistance in the preparation of this presentation.
 NOAA Southeast Regional Office. 2008.
 Google maps. 2009.
 Scott-Denton, E., P. Cryer, J. Gocke, M. Harrelson, J. Pulver, C. Smith, R. Smith, and J. Williams. 2009. Observer coverage of the reef fish fishery in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. (in preparation).
 See this poster at: http://www.apo-observers.org/docs/Haggard_IFMOC_Poster.pdf
 Bibliography: 1. http://agency.osha.eu.int “The impact of noise at work” 2005. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. 2. http://www.nidcd.hih.gov/health/hearing/noise.asp National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.“Noise induced Hearing Loss”. 3. http://www.osha.gov 29 FCR 1910.95, & 33 FCR 86.05 4. Miyakita, T. and A Ueda 1997. Estimates of Workers with Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Population at Risk. Journal of Sound and Vibration., Vol. 205, 4: 441-449 5. Picard, M., Serge Andre Girard, Richard Marc Simard, Tony Leroux Larocque, and Fernand Turcotte 2008. Association of work related accidents with noise exposure in the workplace and noise-induced hearing loss based on the experience of some 240,000 person-years of observation. Accident Analysis and Prevention., Vol. 40, Issue 5, pp 1644-1652. 6. Wilkins, P.A. and W.I Acton 1982. Noise and Accidents - A Review Annals of Occupational hygiene.,Vol. 25, No.3, pp.249-260.
 See this poster at: http://www.apo-observers.org/docs/Todd_IFMOC_Poster.pdf
 Acknowledgements: Special thanks to my Dad JT for his initial consultation in this study, and for his support in all my endeavors. RIP. Additional thanks to the WCGOP observers that contributed with my research, and WCGOP staff for their support, consultations, reviews, and suggestions.
Dickey, H. David. 2008. Analysis of fishing vessel casualties: a review of lost
fishing vessels and crew fatalities, 1992-2007.
Lucas, D.L. and, J.M. Lincoln. 2007.
Fatal falls overboard on commercial fishing vessels in
 Beerkircher, L., K. Keene, S.Cushner, and J. Barker. 2009. Pelagic observer program field manual. NOAA. NMFS-SEFSC.
 See this poster at: http://www.apo-observers.org/docs/Cramer_IFMOC_Poster.pdf
 Perry, A.L., Low P.J., Ellis J.R., and Reynolds J.D. (2005) Climate change and distribution shifts in marine fishes. Science, 308:1912-1915. DOI: 10.1126/science.1111322
Phillips A.J, Ralston S., Brodeaur R.D., Auth T.D., Emmett R.T., Johnson C.,
and Wespestad V.G. (2007) Recent pre-recruit Pacific Hake (Merluccius products)
occurrences in the
 Acknowledgements: We would like to thank observers, first and foremost. Without their hard work, none of this would be possible. We’d also like to thank Rick Brodeur for providing published research material on the subject. Finally, we’d like to thank Jason Eibner, Jennifer Cramer, and the rest of the WCGOP staff that provided valuable input.