The Catch Log
Recently, with the help of Member feedback and many Board
discussions, we came to the realization that the outcomes of certain
With the intention of accommodating the APO’s
The four focus areas are: Education and Outreach; Observer
Data; Observer Health, Safety and Welfare; and, Observer Labor and
Professionalism . Each focus area is coordinated by at least two APO Board
member representatives who will manage all activities that fall under that
particular area of
Please take the time to navigate to each of the four APO
Focus Area pages listed below. Perhaps you will notice there are certain issues
you would like to see addressed within the work of an existing project, or you
may even have an idea for a new project you would like to help initiate. Nevertheless,
we hope you will find useful information within these pages concerning the
current work of the APO as well as important resources designated by each of
these four general areas of
The work of the APO Educational and Outreach focus area is
centered about initiating and managing projects intended to: support the
dissemination of educational information related to the Fisheries Observer
profession; increase and improve the utility of Fisheries Observer, fisheries
management, and fisheries science resources available to the public; and to
reach out, among a wide range of stakeholders internationally, in order to
foster a broadened vantage among all of the
The work of the APO Observer Data focus area is centered about initiating and managing projects intended to provide resources regarding, further investigate, and take action upon important issues related to: the public access to Fisheries Observer data; observer data collection protocols; observer training and data quality control standards; observer program service delivery model structuring; and, rules that have an impact on the independence and integrity of fisheries resource monitoring programs and the resultant data collected.
The work of the APO Observer Health, Safety, and Welfare focus area is centered about initiating and managing projects intended to provide resources regarding and investigate and take action upon important initiatives meant to foster the health, safety, and general welfare of Fisheries Observers, like: at-sea working conditions and emergency procedures; safety training, rules and standards; drills, inspections, and compliance and enforcement of rules and standards; and, protection of observers’ professional livelihood while at sea.
The work of the APO Observer Labor and Professionalism focus area is centered about initiating and managing projects intended to identify initiatives associated with fostering heightened observer professionalism and addressing issues that have bearing on the fair and equitable labor rights of Fisheries Observers.
Note: All of the
With our new restructuring development towards a Focus Area
scheme, we feel that our membership must progress along with these
changes. Membership should be the engine
that drives a non-profit organization, and we hope that our restructuring will
help to empower members to be a part of the
There are certain services that the
Rather than having set membership dues, we are offering Absolutely Free APO Membership!!!
Though you will not be required to pay anything to become an
APO Member, we do hope to encourage those who do make use of APO services to
become a supporter of the
Begin reaping APO Membership benefits now! When you
subscribe to the
Note: As mentioned
above, we are presently reconstructing APO Membership into a tiered-membership
system with consideration for integrating APO Membership in with our new APO
Focus Area scheme and for allowing members to decide to what level they wish to
be involvement with the
Once we have this
system up and running, members will be contacted and asked what interest (if
any) you may have with becoming more involved with the
Great news everyone- we finally have a working draft of the Eyes on the Seas manuscript! While we are still editing much of it, we’ve got a great start to the book. There are eight Chapters to the manuscript, with about 6-8 entries (short stories and poetry) per chapter. The chapters are:
v Chapter 1: Getting Started - Perceptions vs. Realities;
v Chapter 2: Duties and Role;
v Chapter 3: A Sailor’s Life;
v Chapter 4: High Seas Relations;
v Chapter 5: Staying Healthy and Safe;
v Chapter 6: Sea Level Conservation;
v Chapter 7: An Extraordinary Lifestyle; and,
v Chapter 8: Beyond Observing.
Eyes on the Seas will include: a Foreword, drafted by a guest author from a popular NGO – who has tons of experience working with observer programs - who will help link the Fisheries Observer profession with what seafood the public may pick up at the market or be serving on their dinner tables at home; an Introduction, defining the Fisheries Observer Profession on an international scale and giving an editor’s perspective (drafted by the project editors); and, an Afterword, drafted by a guest author who has had a wide variety of perspectives in the observer profession, from working as an Observer to her current position working with observer programs internationally. She will provide for us an outlook on where she thinks the Observer profession is heading in the coming years. We would rather not to yet announce who the Foreword and Afterword authors are, though we can tell you that we are greatly honored by each of them joining this project.
The end of the book will have several appendices and Profiles of all contributors will be featured in an appendix of the book. With currently over 40 people involved in this project, we feel that this should prove to be a very interesting part of the book. The wealth and diversity of experience that contributors have can be exhibited and readers have the opportunity to appreciate the personal side of entries.
More good news- we now have the Eyes on the Seas project
page up and running on the
Currently, we are preparing the manuscript to begin our Review Period. For our Review Period, we will ask several selected individuals from among various stakeholder groups who have a vested interest with observers or observer programs to review the draft manuscript of Eyes on the Seas (over a two-month period) and provide feedback to us. We see our review period as serving two purposes: 1. to ensure that the manuscript is a good as it can be before it is finalized, and 2. to expose this project on a larger scale. We think many of our reviewers will be amazed at the quality and the amount of the works within and will help us spread the word about the project.
We have begun compiling a list of Eyes on the Seas Reviewer and some have already been contacted and confirmed their interest. However, we are still looking for a few more Reviewers. Keith Davis, will have a draft of the manuscript with him at the 6th International Fisheries Observer Conference and he will gladly allow anyone who is interested to browse through a copy. He hopes to recruit a few more Reviewers there and to begin a list of people who would like to be contacted for purchasing the book as soon as it has been published.
As soon as Eyes on the Seas has been published, you will be able to purchase your copy right on the project page on the APO website. Please do keep in mind that it is our intention that a large portion of the proceeds from EOS book sales will go towards the creation of an Observer Professional Development Scholarship fund, meant to foster the advancement of Fisheries Observers among their profession and beyond and to help this grass roots non-profit organization strengthen.
Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any interest in helping this project to success, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have already contributed their time and creations into this project. Thank you.
We have filled up the APO Apartment at the 6th IFOMC and have a great group of folks in there from a variety of backgrounds from around the world (from four different continents!).
We are happy to announce that the following six IFOM
Conference delegates are being fully sponsored by the
Andy Ashley -
Active Fisheries Observer; Northeast,
Alicia Billing -
APO Board/Prior Observer (North Pacific and
Keith Davis - APO
Board/Active Fisheries Observer (
Shikami Kennedy -
Chief Fisheries Officer for the Fisheries Department in
Prabhath Patabendi -
Head- Education & Research; Sustainable Fishery Program, Institute of Human
Development & Training (IHDT); Malabe, Sri Lanka. Prabhath says “I have
been working as the head of the ‘Sustainable fishery program’ since 2008 where
we encourage traditional fishermen to monitor their fishery activities by using
participatory methodologies. In
Ebol Rojas - APO
Board/Active Fisheries Observer (Internationally); Ebol was born in
At past conferences, we have noticed that many folks
(especially Fisheries Observers) may not be provided with much orientation as
to how exactly (outside of their own presentations) to become involved in
conference proceedings and they may miss out on opportunities to share their
input into the workings of the conference. Also, we have found that it may be
difficult for some of these folks to find people, among the sea of delegates
from around the world, who are of the same profession as them (from other
regions/nations) to network with. With this in mind, the APO will be hosting an
informal Pre-conference Mixer on Monday July 20th 8:30 PM at the Dry Dock restaurant and tavern
down by the wharves in Old Town Portland, “
We have plans for a few of us (and guests) to give a brief
introduction/orientation regarding ways that we have been able to best get
involved at past conferences, will make a few introductions to help folks
facilitate networking, and offer up a few pitchers (not the ones you hang on
the wall) to get us all rightly acquainted. That’s “a few”, so make sure you show up on time! With this mixer, we
are primarily hoping to pull in conference newcomers and those who may need to
catch their bearings for getting into the conference swing of things. Active
Observers are our primary target group with this, though we would like to encourage
other stakeholders to join us who feel they may get something out of this event.
If you have any questions about this event, please don’t hesitate to contact those
of us from the
*** 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!
It has been a while since I turned in my Grundens and gumby suit for the more pedestrian lifestyle enjoyed by most of the rest of the world. Now I work in the Protected Resources Division of the Southwest Region of NMFS, but I’m more involved with the management side of things which limits how oftern I get to touch, taste, and smell things like I use to during the eight years I spent as an observer and field researcher. However, a recent series of fortunate events has allowed me the opportunity to exercise some of the expertise I developed in my former life and is helping to carry forward an interesting scientific investigation.
One of my responsibilities involves management and
protection of sea turtles with respect to activities in our region. There are several species of turtles that do
visit the waters off the
The story begins with a couple of recreational fishermen in the Long Beach area who were spending a considerable amount of time fishing in a local channel more than 1 mile inland from the ocean, the San Gabriel River. In the spring of last year, they noticed that just about every time they were fishing, they observed sea turtles hanging around in the water. They were also concerned because they had witnessed a few incidents of these turtles being accidently hooked by other fishermen. They didn’t know much about sea turtles, but they did realize this was probably an unusual situation and decided to find out who might be interested to hear their story.
About this same time, I’m sitting back in the office
thinking about turtles in the local waters.
I had been made aware of anecdotal reports of turtles in the
It was more like 10 seconds.
During that initial hour that I was there, it was obvious that multiple
green turtles were literally just hanging out and popping their heads up to the
surface periodically to breathe. As
someone who has traveled halfway across oceans working on methods to reduce sea
turtle bycatch, it was stunning to see them right in the middle of one of the
most heavily urbanized areas anywhere.
Many questions about these turtles immediately came to mind, but the
most compelling one for me was whether this was a temporary arrangement or were
these guys more permanent residents. The
key element here is that this location in the
So here is where the old observer in me comes into
play. Before I could start rallying the
interest of our agency and any available resources, I needed more
information. The only thing I could
realistically do was start going down to this stretch of river where the warm
water is released and the turtles had been seen as often as I could and record
what I saw. There is an art to
observational study of the water (probably goes for land as well) which
involves simultaneously scanning as much area as possible while still looking
closely. That is just a fundamental part
of what I use to do at sea everyday.
It’s easy to take that ability for granted, but I am consistently amazed
when I’m standing right beside somebody and they won’t see anything while I’ve
spotted half a dozen turtle heads pop up.
After a couple of months of regular monitoring visits lasting only about
30-45 minutes and the consistent turtles activity I was observing, I was fairly
convinced of the possibility that these turtles were residents. By then, I had also heard stories of sightings
from other local fishermen and folks who ride bikes or jog along that river
from the last 25 years, and it appeared to me this may not have been a new
development. The whole picture just
needed to be put together. My
interpretation of what I had seen and documented helped to encourage the local
aquarium to mobilize some of their volunteers to get out and monitor the river
and other adjacent waters around
I wanted to share this for a couple of reasons. First, to point out that a potentially meaningful discovery and opportunity to further our knowledge and understanding of an endangered species arose from the simple observations of a couple average guys on the street who took the time to say “Hey look at that. Is this normal?” I think that fits in pretty well with the mission and mindset of observers. You don’t have to be a genius to make contributions to science; you just need to pay attention to what is right in front of you. You never know what might be important. I also wanted to highlight and acknowledge how fortunate fisheries and natural resource management is to have experience people out in the field whom have the capability to take in things happening quickly around them and identify the important details. It is an acquired skill. It certainly played a role in how I approached this situation and contributed to what I think has been a successful outcome so far. For the record, you can still find me down at the river on occasion keeping an eye out for the latest developments. Can’t seem to break the habit…
Dennis Hansford; National Observer Program;
The International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference (IFOMC) Steering Committee scheduled to meet in Portland, Maine June 20-24, 2009 has received over 200 abstracts from 33 countries. We are pleased to have had such a terrific response to the call for abstracts, with many differing and intriguing insights and aspects to fishery resource monitoring and conservation. The 12 planned conference sessions with oral presentations, promise to be thought provoking and rich with lively dialogue. Just as pleasing, is the response to our pre-conference events, Data Extrapolation, Vessel Safety Training, and Moving Sushi, a Marine Resource Expedition through over 40 countries. Finalized sessions and details on presentations can be viewed at http://www.ifomc.com.
In conjunction with oral presentations, we will have over 100 poster presentations by observers and non-observers from around the world. On July 22nd, you will have the opportunity to enjoy some light refreshments and meet these poster presenters and don’t forget to note your favorite poster! Prizes will be awarded for best observer and non-observer poster.
Updates to the web page are still taking place and you will
be able to get the latest information on pre-conference events and planned
social activities. Our Data Extrapolation Workshop, which is a full day
workshop, will look at a variety of methods for extrapolating data collected
at-sea. The workshop’s objective is to establish a set of common best practices
in data extrapolation. The workshop will be facilitated by Lisa Borges,
Another pre-conference event features observer trainers from the Northwest and Northeast observer programs in conjunction with the U. S. Coast Guard. They have put together interactive training sessions for on board safety drills and how to respond to leaks and ruptured pipes through the use of a local fishing vessel and the Coast Guard’s highly effective Damage Control Trainer. The D. C. Trainer can simulate a variety of scenarios that requires rapid response and creativity. Here is an opportunity to get first hand experience of the type of training U. S observer candidates receive.
Our final pre-conference event, open to delegates, features two videographers that have been trekking across 42 countries between Africa, Europe, and Asia filming a documentary on marine resource use and its conservation. Moving Sushi, a Marine Resource Expedition with Michael Zeljan Markovina and Linda Schonknecht, will share videos, photos, and stories from the expedition route as they film their holistic and objective documentary. All pre-conference events are scheduled for July 20th; check the web site for times.
Also scheduled on the 20th, is a meeting for the members of the Observer Professionalism Working Group. The meeting will be facilitated by Keith Davis. Later during the conference, on the morning of Thursday July 23rd, the Observer Professionalism Working Group will hold a concurrent workshop session exploring observer employment practices from around the world.
year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Rebecca Lent, Director of the Office of
International Affairs in the Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries Service) in
Other conference speakers include noted marine science heavyweights, such as, Ben Rogers, Dr. William T. Hogarth, Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, and Martin A. Hall.
The conference planners have provided several exciting evening social events that include:
Once again, the NMFS National Observer Program has provided funding for fisheries observers to attend the 2009 IFOMC from July 20-24. Regional observer program managers notified current and former observers, where possible, about the potential of receiving funding for travel and accommodations at the conference. Observer program managers encouraged interested observers to submit an abstract. The abstracts were reviewed by the regional programs, which then selected two candidates to be considered. Funding will cover flight, lodging, meals, and conference registration. Congratulations to the 10 observers who were selected for funding support to attend the 6th IFOMC!
Oral, Session 6
Jeffrey R. Pulver
Oral, Session 6
Oral, Session 6
Oral, Session 6
The 6th IFOMC is upon us. So hurry to our secure on-line registration and sign up for the 2009 IFOMC and special events.
See you in
Note: this announcement, with Abstract and Author’s Note, are being printed here with direct permission from Camilo Mora, Ph.D., the primary author of the paper.
”A global analysis shows that fisheries management worldwide is lagging far behind international standards, and that the conversion of scientific advice into policy, through a participatory and transparent process, holds most promise for achieving sustainable fisheries.” – June 22nd Press Release of Management Effectiveness of the World's Marine Fisheries; Mora C, et. al.
Ongoing declines in production of the world's fisheries may have serious ecological and socioeconomic consequences. As a result, a number of international efforts have sought to improve management and prevent overexploitation, while helping to maintain biodiversity and a sustainable food supply. Although these initiatives have received broad acceptance, the extent to which corrective measures have been implemented and are effective remains largely unknown. We used a survey approach, validated with empirical data, and enquiries to over 13,000 fisheries experts (of which 1,188 responded) to assess the current effectiveness of fisheries management regimes worldwide; for each of those regimes, we also calculated the probable sustainability of reported catches to determine how management affects fisheries sustainability. Our survey shows that 7% of all coastal states undergo rigorous scientific assessment for the generation of management policies, 1.4% also have a participatory and transparent processes to convert scientific recommendations into policy, and 0.95% also provide for robust mechanisms to ensure the compliance with regulations; none is also free of the effects of excess fishing capacity, subsidies, or access to foreign fishing. A comparison of fisheries management attributes with the sustainability of reported fisheries catches indicated that the conversion of scientific advice into policy, through a participatory and transparent process, is at the core of achieving fisheries sustainability, regardless of other attributes of the fisheries. Our results illustrate the great vulnerability of the world's fisheries and the urgent need to meet well-identified guidelines for sustainable management; they also provide a baseline against which future changes can be quantified.
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. Several international initiatives have sought to improve the management of marine fisheries, hoping to reduce the deleterious ecological and socioeconomic consequence of the crisis. Unfortunately, the extent to which countries are improving their management and whether such intervention ensures the sustainability of the fisheries remain unknown. Here, we surveyed 1,188 fisheries experts from every coastal country in the world for information about the effectiveness with which fisheries are being managed, and related those results to an index of the probable sustainability of reported catches. We show that the management of fisheries worldwide is lagging far behind international guidelines recommended to minimize the effects of overexploitation. Only a handful of countries have a robust scientific basis for management recommendations, and transparent and participatory processes to convert those recommendations into policy while also ensuring compliance with regulations. Our study also shows that the conversion of scientific advice into policy, through a participatory and transparent process, is at the core of achieving fisheries sustainability, regardless of other attributes of the fisheries. These results illustrate the benefits of participatory, transparent, and science-based management while highlighting the great vulnerability of the world's fisheries services. The data for each country can be viewed at http://as01.ucis.dal.ca/ramweb/surveys/fishery_assessment.
According to Dr. Mora:
“The core results of the analysis were:
1) Only 7% of all coastal states in the world carried out rigorous assessments of the stocks and ecosystem effects of fishing, 1.2% also have transparent and participatory political processes to convert scientific recommendations into policy and less than 1% of the coastal states in the world also provide for an efficient process for the enforcement of regulations.
2) Policy transparency was the prime factor determining fisheries sustainability while in non-transparent systems subsidies also had an additional significant toll on sustainability.
33% of the poorest countries in the world, mostly countries in Africa, Asia and
the Pacific, most of their commercial fishing is carried out by the fleets of
the European Union,
The full paper is free and can be
YouTube video describing the article can be found at:
Citation: 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
The primary author, Camilo Mora, Ph.D., can be reached at:
Department of Biology
Phone: (902) 494-2146
Ebol Rojas; International Fisheries Observer/ APO;
In recent years, the demand for the fisheries observation by the governments and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) in charge of monitoring fishing activities has been increasing, especially in the international context. Some of the new tasks assigned to observers, are associated with: the accurate determination of catches, by catches, discards; interaction with vulnerable marine environment; and the new initiatives in regards to deterring Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
It is common knowledge that fisheries observation constitutes an important tool in the management and monitoring of fishing activities and related activities (i.e. high-seas transshipment activities) worldwide. However, there are certain issues on the rise that bring to light many questions in regards to the effectiveness of observer programs and the awareness that such systems could be considerably improved upon through strategic agreements centered about the standardization of protocols, international certification of observers, and the transference of knowledge among observer programs internationally.
Conflict of interest, poverty, welfare and fisheries observer misconduct:
André Standing writes that according to a source within an
observer training program in Southern Africa, aside from intimidation and
threats, fisheries observers are offered money to report fraudulently to the
pertinent authorities, which is also supported in a report to the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in 2008 regarding IUU fishing in
According to a report in Traffic
International (2001), regarding fisheries observers in the Russian EEZ of
The cases of those fishing vessels involved in illegal activities often times “being monitored” through an onboard fisheries observer displays how the interest in the proper management of the fishing resources and political interests collide and how political conflict leads to mismanagement. In 2004, the FV Maya V, an Uruguayan toothfish longliner, was apprehended in Australian waters- that vessel carried onboard a fisheries observer appointed by the fisheries authority. Technicians of the Ministry of Fisheries denounced that observer designation was ordered directly by the Director of Fisheries, because they were politicians and members of the same party. Designations were not based upon technical observer-placement criteria (Fuentes 2004). The results of the investigations regarding the performance or non performance of the fisheries observer during the deployment were never disclosed, however it is known that the observer deployed again after the issue of the “Maya V” (Rodriguez 2004).
`Many representatives of small-scale fisheries in
In “developed” countries, conflict of interest issues such
as these don’t usually clearly arise.
Nevertheless, in June 2009, a Spanish executive of a fishing company
stated that in
For these types of situations - with low wages or more substantial wages but with poor effectiveness or deficiencies in the method of payment, or with inherent conflicts of interest plaguing a program – the potential for fishing vessel operators to dishonestly destabilize the role of observers appears to be increased.
No safety in any fishery?
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
and the International Labour Organization (ILO), fishing activity produces 24,000 deaths worldwide in
the fishing industry on a yearly basis (FAO 2008) (ILO 1999). These levels are in agreement
with what the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) reported regarding the
fisheries in the
direct response to this issue, the APO initiated a Catalogue
of Observers Casualties, Injuries, and Near Misses[KD6]
2007) - a database which has also begun to include incidences occurring outside
`Safety on board vessels fishing in the Convention Area ….Urges Members to take particular measures through, inter alia, appropriate survival training and the provision and maintenance of appropriate equipment and clothing to promote the safety of all those on board vessels fishing in the Convention Area.’ (CCAMLR 2008)
Without details on the level of training required, minimal equipment, and/or the clothing to be issued, the application of this Resolution for the developing member countries were ambiguous, partial, and with null monitoring of the execution on the part of the Commission.
By example in another region, in 2002 the
Unfortunately, operational and environmental hazards do not constitute the only objects of concern in regards to the safety of onboard fisheries observers. Threats such as harassment regularly arise during the daily work of observers. Consequently, besides the emotional and physical inflictions imposed upon observers, there could be a significant cost to the data quality in the cases of interferences.
One RFMO, the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), is leading the way in regards to monitoring cases of observer harassment/interference. Through the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) and its International Review Panel (IRP), protocols were implemented for the monitoring of infractions and minimization of the cases of observer harassment/interference. Nevertheless, the IATTC (such as with others RFMOs) does not have specific jurisdiction in its member states (countries) and has no national authority. Therefore, proper investigations of these cases need collaboration by all member states. To allow for comparisons of incidences (gauged by observer sea days) and the effectiveness of adopted measures - for these efforts to track cases for the implementation of observer harassment mitigation measures to be useful - it is necessary to work cooperatively among all of the member states to develop standard international implementation schemes. By example, Fig. 1 depicts the percentage of cases analyzed within a period of sessions of the IRP (between meetings 18-42). This chart shows apparently an important quantity of possible interference/harassment cases occurring in developing countries, but without any link to the number of observer/sea days per country it is difficult to distinguish the real trend (Rojas 2008a).
Understanding the importance of the observer harassment
issue, the RFMOs gradually are taking measures to deter the offences against
fisheries observers. Recently, the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has also incorporated a recommendation
regarding harassment within the rules of the Regional Observer Program: ICCAT
signifies a serious violation as : “assault, resistance, intimidation, sexual
harassment, interference with, or undue obstruction or delay of an authorized
inspector or observer...”. Nevertheless, they also fail in regards to properly defining
these terms and with coming to an agreement, among the member states (nations),
of the actions to be taken with the vessels and/or crews when their is
non-compliance. At the 27th Meeting of the Commission in 2008, the USA CCAMLR delegation
made recommendations to begin a system in primary agreement with
recommendations previously made by the
International initiatives to strength the fisheries observer programs
Among the diverse global instruments and guidelines for a governance framework for fisheries and management of living resources, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) encourages the coastal states (in its Arts. 117 and 118) to collaborate with other countries in the conservation and management of the common living resources on the high seas. Also, in Art. 119.(1)(a), the UNCLOS recognize that the developing countries may need assistance to ensure compliance with management measures, and the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) recognize that developing States may require direct assistance to enjoy their international rights to sustainably harvest high seas marine living resources. However, in reality the cooperation to enhance monitoring for these countries, through the implementation and or improvements of the observer programs, has been very deficient.
In the case of the Tuna RFMOs, they have
begun a process of cooperative consultation (
At the 26th Meeting of the Commission, CCAMLR implemented the Ad Hoc Technical Group for At-Sea Operations (TASO). TASO was initiated with the intention of coordinating and improving CCAMLR observer programs, implementing the decisions of the Commission, and advising the Scientific Committee. The implementation of these decisions ran into problems - the CCAMLR International Review Panel stated in 2008 that there is an important inconsistency in the monitoring and reporting needs for different fisheries and management areas. For example, the Scientific Committee for the krill fishery have made requests to make monitoring and reporting in the krill fishery appropriate, including the requirement for biological data and mandatory observers. However, this is a clear example of how the political interests can collide with the best management and monitoring of the resources being that implementation of these measures recommended by the Scientific Committee were not immediately implemented (CCAMLR, 2008).
Since 1999, the International Fisheries Observer Monitoring Conference (IFOMC) has been a platform for sharing knowledge on worldwide fisheries observation, addressing issues of Professionalism, Training and Safety through the different working groups and panels. In 2000, the Observer Bill of Rights (OBR), stating the rights of observers and obligations of the contractors/governments, was formulated as an instrument to improve the standards of the observer programs (OPWG 2008).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through the National Marine Fisheries Service, has been collaborating in the training of observers in developing countries (such as Ghana, Senegal, Philippines, and Vietnam) being an example of how to apply the requirements of the UNCLOS and UNFSA regarding international cooperation with developing or emerging countries.
For an at-sea observer program to be successful, it is necessary to consider the effective function of multiple factors involving certain observer program essentials, such as: training, equipment, compliance, management and issuance of clear rules regarding how to carry out onboard observer duties. The importance of a program must not only be determined by the number of Observers, observer sea days/year, or the budget, but also by the volume of biomass which are monitored and the ecological value of the species (e.g.: Krill ).
The long cooperation between FAO, ILO and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has lead to the promulgation of guidelines and rules regarding the safety of those serving on board fishing vessels. However, with the exception of two specialized publications on the part of FAO (Davies & Reynolds,2003; van Helvoort, 1986), the issue of fisheries observer safety has not been an object of extensive analysis and has not been followed up on as it should be. Implementation of observer safety regulations has in general been very poor, showing the most wide loopholes of management at the international level. Even the ILO left fisheries observers without coverage under the Convention 188 on Work in Fishing (ILO 2007), never consulting the fisheries observer stakeholders when implementing these measures, considering fisheries observers as persons who are not working in fisheries.
The monitoring (or non monitoring) by developing nations within their own exclusive waters of marine resources common to international waters (also within the jurisdiction of various RFMOs) has greater significance every day, in regards to the economic impacts (locally and regionally) and the impacts to the ecosystem/marine food web. If we consider the FAO figures that place 8 developing countries (or emerging economies), with China at the top of the list, among the 10 main world fishing producers (in marine and continental catches) (FAO, 2009)(IMF, 2008), the effectiveness of fisheries monitoring in these developing countries is not only important because of the well know issues regarding food security – reaching the 50% threshold of worldwide fish exports, developing countries are of fundamental importance as suppliers to the world markets (FAO, 2008). In the cases of mismanagement, the environmental consequences associated with the amount of biomass harvested from these countries are concerning.
The process of observer certification and decertification should be reviewed, standardized, and widely published. This way allowing contractors and RFMO managers to accede easily to the work history of each observer, the good and the bad, including detailed information such as certifications, decertifications (and the causes). In actuality, without the sharing of this information, an observer decertified in one observer program, region, or RFMO may be able to find work in another (without the other program knowing of that observer’s work history). Such a system should be standardized and optimized in order to offer all of the guarantees to observers that their work performance will be properly assessed and that they will be appropriately supported for doing their jobs the right way. Such a standardized system would ultimately help to improve the mechanisms for recruiting the best-qualified observers.
Incidents regarding safety and harassment in
fisheries observation are often not monitored, with scarce follow up for many
nations. The meager amount of data gathered to date is poor and useless, not
reflecting any real trends to understanding the safety of fisheries observers. A
standardized and complete database would allow us to understand the external
factors affecting the performance of onboard observers, the nature of the risks
per fishery/area, and would help in the development of better trainings and
protocols. A centralized program for
the monitoring of these issues is essential to compiling such a database. An organization
such as the
For many nations around the globe, the dominance of poor economic and social environments reduces the cost of corruption, observer costs, and essentially provides opportunity for maintaining low working conditions for fisheries observers. Appropriate safety and working standards for observers are not their main objectives. According to Watson-Wright (2005) such conditions are often used as avenues for corrupt politicians to extend their circle of power. When a new concern has become credible within the scientific community, there are still many probable reactions by policy makers – many of which do not always work towards bettering management practices.
It is the responsibility of “developed” nations who import seafood from developing nations to not only note the presence of an observer program (when accessing the levels of sustainability of the source fisheries) but to examine the way they are using observers in those fisheries and ensure that their standards of quality are at the levels they have set in their own nation.
A broad and pro-active approach to management issues is necessary for developing measures that can be exported beyond the borders of one observer program, region, country, convention area. Particularly, through cooperative-management agreements, focused working groups can study and assess the implementation of guidelines meant to improve the efficiency of observer program, with keeping in mind to assist developing nations with meeting desirable standards. The drafting of and successful implementation of a binding global agreement or the creation of an International Fisheries Observation Organization/Congress would help to: solve these management deficiencies, harmonize legislation, protocols, trainings, and the standards of international certification of fisheries observers. This would facilitate the exchange of observers, which is a win-win for many stakeholders (from the contractors pulling from a larger pool to management regimes needing to spend less for training observers). These ideas should be considered and developed upon in the framework of the IFOMC, starting with a declaration of intentions.
adn.es.(from EFE). Empresa Balfegó acusa a pescadores andaluces de retener miles de atunes rojos. http://www.adn.es/local/lleida/20090611/NWS-1174-Empresa-Balfego-pescadores-andaluces-retener.html Accessed on: 11/06/2009.
Afrol News. “Recursos pesqueros: Los observadores del sector denuncian corrupción.” 21/09/2006. Available online: http://www.afrol.com/es/articulos/21480 Accesed on:
AMSEA. Review & Evaluation of NMFS Observer Safety Training.
CCAMLR. Performance Review Panel Report.
CCAMLR. Schedule of Conservation Measures in Force 2008/09 Season. 2008. Hobart, Australia.
Davies S L; JE Reynolds. Guidelines for developing an at-sea fishery observer programme. FAO Fish. Tech. Pap. No.414. 2003
EJF. Pirates and Profiteers: How Pirate Fishing Fleets are Robbing People and Oceans. Environmental Justice Foundation, London, UK. 2005.
estado mundial de la pesca y la acuicultura 2008.
FAO Newsroom. Half of world fish trade sourced from developing countries. 02/06/2008. Available online: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/
Fuentes G. Los piratas de "Palo y palo". La Republica Online: http://www.larepublica.com.uy/editorial/137813-los-piratas-de-palo-y-palo. 06/04/2004. Accessed on: 14/08/2008.
ICCAT. Rec. 08-05. Recommendation amending the Recommendation by
ICCAT to establish a multiannual recovery plan for bluefin tuna in the Eastern
ILO Safety and Health in the Fishing Industry. Report for discussion at the Tripartite Meeting on Safety and Health in the Fishing Industry. 1999.
ILO. Work in Fishing Convention.
IMF. Emerging and Developing Economies List. World Economic Outlook Database, April 2008. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2008/01/weodata/groups.htm#oem
Conservation Program. On-Board
Observer Program. DOCUMENT OBS-2-03b. Guidelines for Technical Training of
Observers. 2nd Meeting of IATTC and National Observer Programs.
Justin B. Observer Casualties, Injuries, and Near Misses. In:
MRAG-CAPFISH. Study and analysis of the status of IUU fishing in the SADC region and an estimate of the economic, social and biological impacts. Volume 2. Main Report. May, 2008.
Nuestro Mar. La denuncia por depredación llega al Congreso. Denuncian “delito ecológico” en el Atlántico Sur.http://www.nuestromar.org/noticias/destacados_052009_23922_la_denuncia_por_depredacion_llega_al_congreso. Accessed on: 31/05/2009
OPWG. Observer Professionalism Working Group (OPWG) 5th International Fisheries Observer Conference (IFOC) Report. Edited by, Davis K.G. & Quelch G.D. 87pp. 2008.
Organización Internacional del Trabajo. Reunión tripartita sobre la seguridad y la salud en las industrias pesqueras. Ginebra, Suiza. 1999.
Prensalibreonline.com.ar. Algo huele mal en Santa Cruz . http://www.prensalibreonline.com.ar/dblog/noticia.asp?id=4167. Accessed on: 26/06/2009
Rodriguez R. El capitán Flangini volvió a embarcar al denunciado observador del "Maya V". La Republica Online: http://www.larepublica.com.uy/politica/142996-el-capitan-flangini-volvi...30/05/2004. Accessed on: 17/06/2009.
Rojas E. Fisheries Observer Harassment
and Interference - a Global Challenge. In:
Rojas E. Strengthening Standards of
Quality: the CCAMLR Scheme. In:
Romain S. Designing
and Implementing Incentives to Improve Safety on “Unsafe” Vessels. In: NMFS. 2004.Proceedings of the Third
International Fisheries Observer Conference.
Shikami Kennedy Akweyu. (Chief Fisheries Officer, Fisheries
Department, Coast& Marine.
Standing A. Corruption and industrial Fishing in
Stop Illegal Fishing. Stop Illegal Fishing in
Vaisman A. TRAWLING
IN THE MIST: INDUSTRIAL FISHERIES IN THE RUSSIAN PART OF THE
van Helvoort G. Observer Program Operations Manual. FAO Fish. Tech. Pap. No. 275. 1986
Vidal J. Pirate fishing causing eco disaster and killing communities, says report. In The Guardian 08/06/2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jun/08/pirate-fishing-eco-disaster-report . Accessed on: 08/06/2009
Watson-Wright W. Policy and science: different roles in the pursuit of solutions to common problems. In: Mar Ecol Prog Ser. Vol. 300: 241–296, 2005.
Martin Purves; Southern Africa Programme Manager, MSC;
Observer Programmes are recognised world-wide as a very important tool in the sound management of fisheries. Many management agencies rely greatly on data collection by onboard scientific observers to feed into stock assessments, management plans and addressing the ecosystem impacts of fisheries. Observers can also play a valuable role in the monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing activities.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is generally regarded as the world's leading certification and eco-labeling program for sustainable seafood and in recent times the organization has experienced spectacular growth, both in the number of certified products available to consumers and in the number of fisheries being certified or entering assessment. Observers can play a very important role in strengthening the sustainability of fisheries and in addressing specific issues that could lead to improvements in fisheries entering the program as well as in already certified fisheries.
growth in the number of MSC certified fisheries and fisheries in assessment
up to the end of 2008.
The growth in the number of MSC certified fisheries and fisheries in assessment up to the end of 2008.
The MSC’s standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability are based on independent third-party assessments by accredited certifiers and complies with the FAO’s 'Guidelines for the eco-labeling of fish and fishery products from marine capture fisheries'. Fisheries around the world are given a way through MSC certification to be recognized and rewarded for good management.
A study commissioned by the MSC in 2006 looked at the environmental benefits of its sustainable fishery certification programme, based on case studies of ten certified fisheries, researched using documentary evidence and personal communications with field experts. The authors took as their starting point the mandatory actions – known as ‘conditions of certification’ – which have to be undertaken once fisheries are certified and which should lead to the overall improvement of certified fisheries. They then sought to identify changes in the ten fisheries stemming from these conditions and considered whether the MSC programme was mostly, or partially, the stimulus for change, or whether the MSC was not the primary catalyst. About 75% of the 89 positive gains identified came about after the fisheries had been certified. Of these 47 were mostly stimulated by the MSC programme, 20 were partially stimulated by the programme and 22 occurred independently.
All the environmental benefits of the programme was however not captured by the study as many fisheries start implementing improvements before entering full assessment against the MSC standard. The first step towards certification, called a pre-assessment, serves as a roadmap of improvements fisheries will need to make if they were to successfully enter full assessment. Improvements can therefore already be made after the pre-assessment stage, but before the fishery enters full assessment. Many of the improvements in certified fisheries are directly related to the role onboard observers play. Examples of observer programme inputs in certified fisheries are given below.
South African Hake
The SA hake
fishery is a very good example of observers playing an active role in data
collection to meet some of the conditions of certification. Probably the most important result of MSC
certification has been the reduction in incidental seabird mortalities by 86%
from an estimated 18,000 deaths five years ago. When the fishery was
certified only minimal information about seabird by-catch was available and the
client received their MSC-certification on the condition that research be
carried out to find out more on seabird interactions with the fishery and that
appropriate mitigation measures be implemented to reduce seabird
mortalities. The Albatross Task Force of
Since certification both WWF and BirdLife have reported a greater willingness from vessel operators to accommodate them on board and greater cooperation from skippers & crew in addressing incidental seabird mortalities. The Africa Coordinator of BirdLife’s Global Seabird Programme, Ross Wanless, recently noted: “I would emphasise the key role that certification provided in incentivising the fishery to be proactive in addressing environmental issues. The seabird-trawl warp interaction is a classic example of how a fishery realised that they couldn't ignore a potential problem, and took steps to investigate the nature of the problem before anyone else was jumping up and down and crying foul”.
Since certification observer’s onboard data collection has not only focused on the seabird issue, but specific protocols have also been developed to find out more on depth distribution of the two hake species (shallow water M. capensis and deep water M. paradoxus) and their occurrence in commercial catches. The two species are usually not separated in commercial catches and there’s previously been uncertainty of the ‘split’ between and relative importance of the species in different areas. There’s also been some specific work on by-catches and obtaining accurate information on conversion factors for the two species. Most of this research has been guided by conditions of certification.
Since the fishery was certified in March 2004 data collection protocols of observers have been modified to ensure that they collect the required data to meet the conditions of certification. These included (1) genetic and tagging studies to confirm the stock identity (onboard observers did most of the tagging, although some tagging studies were also done by survey scientists; observers also collected tissue samples for genetic studies); (2) observer data collected to monitor fisheries impacts on rajid populations (this included species ID, sampling of morphometric data and taking tissue samples for genetic studies); (3) observer monitoring of discards of fishing hooks in fish heads after processing (seabirds ingesting these often cause mortalities at sea) and (4) observer data collection on benthos to monitor fishery impacts on benthic habitats (this included collection and ID of samples). Mapping of the occurrence of benthic communities was then done based on observer data collected at sea.
Both fishing companies who participate in this fishery help fund research and provide 100% observer coverage.
As mentioned above, the assessment of fisheries in the MSC certification scheme is based on three principles. These are:
v Principle 1 - a fishery must be conducted in a manner that does not lead to over-fishing or depletion of the exploited populations and, for those populations that are depleted, the fishery must be conducted in a manner that demonstrably leads to their recovery;
v Principle 2 - fishing operations should allow for the maintenance of the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem (including habitat and associated dependent and ecologically related species) on which the fishery depends and
v Principle 3 - the fishery is subject to an effective management system that respects local, national and international laws and standards and incorporates institutional and operational frameworks that require use of the resource to be responsible and sustainable.
The observer programme of the Patagonian scallop fishery helped to address issues relevant to the certification of the fishery under each of the three Principles. Regarding the health of the target stocks, observers collect comprehensive and accurate information on the size composition of all catches of the target stock over the whole fishery. Discards of undersized scallops are estimated by bed and fishing mortality on individual beds is estimated from catch information calibrated by observer data. Regarding ecosystem impacts of the fishery, observers collect quantitative information on by-catch species. The 100% observer coverage also ensures that there is an accurate estimate of all discards. Removal of adult scallops may well result in reducing recruitment of benthic organisms dependent on scallop shells for settlement. Analysis of the on board observer monitoring programme will detect any long-term change. Observers will also be able to detect impacts on protected, threatened and endangered species through fishing operations, allowing for the development of avoidance practices. Regarding effective management of the fishery, the observer programme provides very good information that contributes to management planning and decision making.
It is therefore very unlikely that the fishery would have been certified without the valuable inputs from the observer programme.
is 100% observer coverage in this fishery, with each vessel carrying 1-2
federal fishery observers to monitor and record catches and conduct scientific
research; observers are also assigned to all pollock onshore processing
facilities. Quotas in the MSC certified Alaska
pollock fishery are set based on fish stock estimates compiled using
state of the art data collection and modelling. Observers on boats relay
real-time catch and by-catch data to ensure that these quotas are not exceeded.
In addition, this information is shared among vessels in the
Fisheries in the Southern African region
in the region range from fully industrial trawlers with sophisticated
technology targeting deep sea resources to small-scale artisanal fishermen
fishing in the near shore waters with traditional gears. Currently the South African hake fishery is
the only certified fishery in
octopus fishery in
fishery which has recently undergone a pre-assessment is the deep water shrimp
There is no doubt that observer programmes will continue to improve the sustainability of many fisheries all over the world and will lead to improvements in fisheries engaging with the MSC’s certification programme.
***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.
The Vietnamese longline fishery is about 10 years old. High grade tunas are exported to markets in
Vietnamese observer training class had 11 trainees. The course was held in Tuy Hoa. Some of the trainees had experience with
maritime issues. And many had graduated
Technical training provided by the PIR Observer Program covered animal identification, sea turtle handling and dehooking. Emergency radio procedures and may-day calls were also covered.
The initial data collected by the observers will be used by fisheries managers to better understand the species composition of the longline catches. Identification materials will be refined to be more appropriate for the Vietnamese fisheries and industry. They also plan to expand the safety training for the trainees,
The training room is located in BFAR’s newly built MCS
offices and training center in
prospects for the
Things are perking up observer-wise in
*See www.wcpfc.int CMM 2008-01 for more detailed information on the measure.
Steve Eckert; Fisheries Observer;
On June 13-18 2009, the Pacific Fishery Management Council
(PFMC) met in
Amendment 20 is a controversial issue that the PFMC has been debating since 2003, when it decided to formally develop a trawl rationalization program in September, followed by the adopting of November 6, 2003 as the control date for trawl individual quotas. The council then began a public scoping process that ended in June of 2005 and began looking at alternatives to rationalization in an environmental impact statement. The alternatives to rationalization were addressed in meetings throughout 2006 to 2008, culminating in the council’s November 2008 decision of recommending trawl rationalization followed by a letter to the United States Congress in early 2009 containing a description of the proposal.
Since the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program (WCGOP)
started in 2001, there has been a random vessel selection plan. Fishing ports along the coasts of
Furthermore, the Magnuson-Stevenson Act requires IFQ holders to pay the costs of managing and enforcing the rationalization program up to 3% of exvessel value. In addition, vessels may be required to obtain observers at their own expense. These changes represent another implication for observers working in the west coast fishery. A fee structure that allows for smaller vessels to share of observer costs with larger vessels may be developed. Funding for the observer program currently comes from the United States Federal Government.
The next step to occur before the rationalization is complete and quota shares are given out is for the package to been sent to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval. Final Implementation is not expected until 2011. Once implemented, the council will conduct a formal review of the program within five years. Adjustments to the program will be made at that time. To stay informed on current and future council matters, their website is www.pcouncil.org.
The FV Monte Galineiro a Spanish trawler went down in 20 minutes, after water began flooding the engine room, said its master, Mr. Ivan Soage Blanco, speaking through a translator at a press conference in St. John's (Newfounland, Canada), the ship, which departed from Vigo, Spain, was fishing on the Grand Banks just beyond Canada's territorial limits when the crew heard explosions in the engine room.
"They heard two shocks in the engine room," said the fishing vessel master, "They went down to the basement of the ship and they found it was in flames. They had a very short time to leave the ship and to call for help." The Canadian Coast Guard Ship “Leonard J. Cowley” was patrolling the international fishing grounds under the regulation of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), Coast guard Capt. Derek LeRiche said he was considering a routine NAFO inspection of the Monte Galineiro -- but had not yet notified the Spanish trawler that he might send a team
onboard -- when the ship's distress call came in.
Twenty-two foreign sailors including the Spanish observer were rescued for the Canadian Coast Guard Sunday 22 February, many of whom were awakened from their bunks -- scrambled to escape their rapidly sinking Spanish fishing trawler following a pair of explosions in the ship's engine room.
The courage, strength and preparation in safety at sea of the biologist Tania
Fernandez Vivanco, which was doing the fisheries observer work onboard, were very important for the survivorship with success of that high seas nightmare,she was rescued safe, the master said that the crew is "extremely lucky" that the coast guard was so close,"otherwise the situation could have been very dangerous ... thank you very much for everything."
Sailors thankful after dramatic rescue from sinking trawler. In: www.nationalpost.com/related/
El Gobierno desmiente que el barco vigués faenase de forma irregular. In: http://www.elcorreogallego.es/galicia/ecg/vivimos-un-drama-final-feliz/idEdicion-2009-02-27/idNoticia-400452/
Monte Galineiro photos Canadian Coast Guard.
The fishing boat Mataco II sunk on May 05, at 40 miles to Punta Loyola (Rio Gallegos, Argentina), a crew was lost; the strong wind and swell did not allow it rescue.
The rescued crew (43 of 44) arrived on the following day to shore, the vessel sank due the consequences of a strong storm. The crews in three rescue boats were rescued for the “Beagle I” which was at 2 hours and half at the moment of distress.
The crew including the fisheries observer arrived safe
onboard the Beagle I to the
The Mataco II were a processing trawler, launched in 2003, with 58,19 m of length and 11 of width, he was departed to high seas from Puerto Madryn.
Condensed from: Joven naufrago catamarqueño está perdido en
The Korean longliner, Insung 22 which is property of the
Insung Corporation and licensed to fish in
was located at approx. 54.27S and 34.42W , 60 miles east-north-east of the
Information from Government House indicates that the fire is believed to have started in the rear of the accommodation section of the vessel.
The Insung 22 has 40 crewmembers, consisting of eight Koreans, thirteen Vietnamese, fourteen Indonesians, four Filipinos one Chinese and one British fisheries observer, there were no reported injuries.
The onboard fisheries observer Mr. Anthony Donnelly was
rescued fine and prepared for other deployment in
Condensed from: http://www.falklandnews.com/public/story.cfm?get=5408&source=3
Insung 22 Photo from the CCAMLR web page (CCAMLR License notification).
Association of wives of fishermen "
Association "Rosa dos Ventos”, comprised mostly of women from O Morrazo in
The association is aware of the difficulties on the control of the working day, because of the remoteness and difficult access for inspections. However, this group of women, held four meetings in a workshop with the Government, which addressed this problem, which they consider very serious. One of the possibilities being looked at and that principle was later rejected, was the installation in the factory of each vessel an IP camera, using a black box and transmitter, to control the working day, this solution was dropped based in constitutional issues, in this situation the Government has proposed a pilot project, which will consist of assigning a dual role of fisheries observers on trawlers fishing in distant waters which are required to carry an observer on board. According to this group, these professionals could be recording in addition to the daily catches, the hours worked by the crew, the type of work and if any abuses, and once on land, after the report, the authorities would take action in case they were needed. Women find that the management of fishing is necessary, but it is more the control over the work done on the boats, "which sometimes leads to abuse and major accidents, and so the Administration should be careful, improving, this thus, at least, the hard working day the workers. "
According to the association, which must try the new skills of the observers would not be more pressure for these professionals, so they only take confidential data, as currently performed for fisheries.
Source: “Mujeres de pescadores de O Morrazo piden el control de la jornada laboral en los barcos”. http://www.farodevigo.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2009061300_18_337754__Portada-de-O-Morrazo-Mujeres-pescadores-Morrazo-piden-control-jornada-laboral-barcos
***This section focuses on the professional livelihood of observers, from employment parameters and standards to professional development opportunities . If you would like to share with us an important aspect of observer professionalism, please contact us.
Keith Davis; Fisheries Observer/APO; U.S.A
Concurrent with the Thursday morning plenary session (8:30 – 12:00 am) at the 6th International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference (IFOMC), the Observer Professionalism Working Group (OPWG) will conduct a workshop exploring observer employment practices from around the world in order to construct a more solid foundation in regards to the Group’s four areas of study: Wages and Benefits, Support and Opportunities, Employment Standards, and Social Equity. We hope to build off of our prior investigations, and gather more focused, detailed, yet broaden-scoped, information in regards to certain highlighted Observer Professionalism topics. This stage of information gathering is centered about conducting “Focused Interviews” with the overall theme of: Outlining Avenues that Foster the Recruitment and Retention of a Professional, Equitably Employed, Workforce of Observers.
Scope of Interviewees:
The main focus group for OPWG Employment Standards Committee interviews are active and prior Fisheries Observers, though other stakeholders (i.e. management-agency personnel, observer provider/contractor personnel, Observer data end-users, Observer Union personnel, fishers, industry personnel, NGO’s) are also encouraged to participate.
OPWG Focused Interview Outputs:
For this stage of our information gathering, we seek quality rather than quantity. We hope to strike a balance among all stakeholder perspectives important to gaining a broadened vantage of each outlined objective. Some interviewees may wish to provide feedback to the entire set of interview questions, while others, may be approached by one committee and asked to complete only a portion of the questions.
The workshop introduction (from 08:30am to 09:00am) will help to orient you to the proceedings of the workshop and then you can come in and out to participate as your schedule permits through the rest of the half-day. If you are attending the 6th IFOMC and observer professionalism is an important topic to you, do check out the Observer Professionalism Workshop!
***Contributions to this section aim to exhibit the creative side of observers. Please, submit your observer or related sea poetry, cartoons, creative writings, and illustrations for publishing quarterly in the MB’s Creative Corner.
APO General E-mail email@example.com
Liz Mitchell (APO President) firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Wagenheim (APO V.P./ ObserverNet) email@example.com
Keith Davis (
Alicia Billings (
Ebol Rojas (APO Board) firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad Justin (APO Board) email@example.com
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 Fall
2009 Mail Buoy are due by September 25th, 2009. The
 Stop Illegal Fishing. Stop Illegal Fishing in
 Standing A. Corruption and
industrial Fishing in
 Environmental benefits resulting from certification against MSC’s Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing, MRAG, 2006.
[KD1]Hyperlink to APO Focus Area page
[KD2]Hyperlink to Education and Outreach APO Focus Area page
[KD3]Hyperlink to Observer Data APO Focus Area page
[KD4]Hyperlink to Observer health, Safety, and Welfare APO Focus Area page
[KD5]Hyperlink to Observer labor and Professionalism APO Focus Area page
[KD6]Link to project page