Observer Health Safety and Welfare

Background and Objectives

APO was founded on the premise that observers cannot effectively and independently collect quality data unless they have the necessary support that allows them to work in a safe environment, free from assault, harassment, bribery attempts and other forms of interference. In the last 10 years, one-two fisheries observers have either died suspiciously on board, or disappeared at sea. We have helped develop guidelines to mitigate the difficulties and dangers observers face, but it requires a committed response from the agencies, employers and the vessels, including adequate enforcement follow-up.

1.  Calls for observer coverage from marine conservation NGOs and other stakeholders must simultaneously demand for observer protection and enforcement of violators.  See APO’s letter to marine conservation NGOs.

2. International Observer Bill of Rights:  Observers should be informed of their worker rights.  This document and associated Health and Safety and Stakeholder Responsibilities documents outline what we believe will protect observers.

3.  Observer Deaths and Disappearances: Not a single observer death has been honored by government agencies or employers in charge to publish the circumstances involved in these deaths so that we may learn from them.  Public transparency of these incidents is critical so that we may change policy to increase safety; target repeat offenders; and reduce recurrence.



For details and resources specific to each of the current ongoing work of the Observer Health, Safety, and Welfare APO Focus Area, please navigate to each project page found at the following links:

Contact Information

Please contact APO with your questions, corrections feedback or if you have more information on observer cases.