Fisheries observers are biologists who work independently to collect a wide range of information onboard commercial fishing vessels and at shoreside processing plants receiving fish from Alaskan waters. Observer information is used by NMFS and partner agencies to manage commercial fisheries in the North Pacific.

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The observer program is responsible for fielding longline observers to obtain data on incidental sea turtle take and collect fishing effort data. The observers document interactions of all protected species, tally fish that are kept and discarded, and process selected specimens for life history information.

The Pacific Islands Region uses observer data to calculate official estimates (e.g. protected species interactions) and produce technical reports. The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center receives biological samples for analysis.

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Shadow effect

North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program

Pacific Islands Region Observer Program

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Observer Programs