Monitoring, Compliance & Surveillance of Commercial Exploitation of Marine Resources

The Association for Professional Observers (APO) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to strengthen fisheries observer programs through advocacy and education.

Our Mission

image of ocean water with fish swimmingThe 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.

What is APO?

The Association for Professional Observers (APO) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to strengthen observer programs through advocacy, education and industry support.

Our work to 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 public marine living resources.

The APO strongly supports robust, transparent and scientifically-based fisheries monitoring programs that adhere to the principles of scientific integrity, welfare of human rights, and unbiased independent observer data, and information.

Observer Safety

APO engages with national and international fora to advance the safety and welfare of observers and their worker rights so that they may collect this important information free from harassment, assault, bribery attempts and other forms of interference.

Public Access to Observer Information

APO advocates for public transparency of observer data and information and for the effectiveness of observer program management.

Observer Liaison

APO acts as a liaison between observers, and their respective observer programs or observer employer, and the observers’ families, if necessary, when issues arise.

About Observers

An Observer is a person who is authorised by a regulatory authority to collect scientific information to assist in the monitoring, compliance, and surveillance (MSC) of commercial exploitation of marine resources. The Observer must be financially independent of the industry being monitored. Observers generally do not have enforcement powers, but their duties often involve the collection of enforcement related information.

Observers are tasked with a wide range of duties that are primarily related to commercial fishing, although other industries impacting the ocean environment may be monitored as well. Observers are typically either hired by third party contractual agreements or directly by a government regulatory authority. However, sometimes observers are hired as independent contractors. Regardless of employer, observers generally work independently and unsupervised in an isolated and sometimes contentious environment and a variety of entities may negatively impact their ability to complete their duties.