What is an Observer?

An “observer” is a person who is authorized 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.

We frequently hear a call for more observer coverage but in order for the coverage to be effective, we must call for more protections to safeguard the observers ability to do their work unhindered by harassment and interference. Please see our open letter to ocean activists and marine conservation groups.​

Observer Programs

Ackley, David R. and Jonathan Heifetz. 2001. Fishing Practices Under Maximum Retainable Bycatch Rates in Alaska’s Groundfish Fisheries Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin 8(1):22-44.

Adlerstein, S. A., and R. J. Trumble. 1998. Pacific halibut bycatch in Pacific cod fisheries in the Bering Sea: an analysis to evaluate area-time management. J. Sea Res. 39:153-166.

 

Alaska Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports. 1995 (Small and DeMaster 1995), 1996 (Hill et al. 1997), 1998 (Hill & DeMaster 1998), 1999 (Hill & DeMaster 1999), 2000 (Ferrero et al. 2000), 2001 (Angliss et al. 2001), 2002 (Angliss & Lodge 2002), 2003 (Angliss & Lodge 2004), 2005 (Angliss & Outlaw 2005), 2006 (Angliss & Outlaw 2006), 2007 (Angliss & Outlaw 2008).

 

Allen, S. D., and A. Gough. 2007. Hawaii Longline Fishermen’s Experiences with the Observer Program. NOAA Technical Memo. NMFS-PIFSC-8, National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

 

An, D. H., S.-S. Kim, D.-Y. Moon, and S.-J. Hwang. 2006. A summary of the Korean tuna fishery observer programme for the Pacific Ocean in 2005. Report submitted to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, 2nd Scientific Committee Meeting, Manila, Philippines, SC2-EB-IP-3. Go to http://www.wcpfc.org/ & click on Meetings.

 

Anderson, J. D. (1993). Seabird interactions in Puget Sound purse-seine fisheries. Pacific Seabird Group 20th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington.

 

Anderson, O. 2009. Estimating Seabird Bycatch Rates in IATTC Industrial Longline Fisheries. Paper prepared for the Seabird Technical Meeting of the IATTC Stock Assessment Working Group, 11th May 2009, Del Mar, California, USA, BirdLife International, Global Seabird Programme, Sandy, UK.

 

Anderson, O., H. Booker, E. Frere, and C. Small. 2009. Data Collection Protocols for Reporting Seabird Bycatch in IATTC Industrial Longline Fisheries. Paper prepared for the Seabird Technical Meeting of the IATTC Stock Assessment Working Group, 11th May 2009, Del Mar, California, USA, BirdLife International, Global Seabird Programme, Sandy, UK.

 

Anganuzzi, A. A., and S. T. Buckland. 1989. Reducing bias in estimated trends from dolphin abundance indices derived from tuna vessel data. Rep. Int. Whal. Commn. 39:323-334.

 

Anganuzzi, A. A., S. T. Buckland, and K. L. Cattanach. 1991. Relative abundance of dolphins associated with tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific, estimated from tuna vessel sightings data for 1988 and 1989. Rep. Int. Whal. Commn. 41:497-506.

 

Angliss, R. P., D. P. DeMaster, and A. L. Lopez. 2001. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2001. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-124.

 

Angliss, R. P., and K. L. Lodge. 2002. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2002. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-133.

 

Angliss, R. P., and K.L. Lodge. 2004. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2003. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-144.

 

Angliss, R. P., and R. B. Outlaw. 2005. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2005. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-161.

 

Angliss, R. P., and R. B. Outlaw. 2006. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2006. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-168.

 

Angliss, R. P., and R. B. Outlaw. 2008. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2007. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-180.

 

Arata, J. A., P. R. Sievert, and M. B. Naughton. 2009. Status Assessment of Laysan and Black-footed Albatross Populations, North Pacific Ocean, 1923-2008. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5131.

 

**Archer, F., and S. J. Chivers. 2002. Age structure of the northeastern spotted dolphin incidental kill by year for 1971 to 1990 and 1996 to 2000. SWFSC Admin. Rep., La Jolla, LJ-02-12, 18 p.

 

**Aydin, K. Y., V. V. Lapko, V. I. Radchenko, and P. A. Livingston. 2002. A comparison of the eastern and western Bering Sea shelf and slop ecosystem through the use of mass-balance food web models. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-130, U.S. Dep. Commer.

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