Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Fisheries Observation Science Topics

Staff

Jon McVeigh
Program Manager
Staff Directory


Catch Share Observer Program:
How it Works

All vessels participating in the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program are required to carry a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-certified observer during all fishing trips. An observer is an independent field biologist who monitors commercial fishing activities by collecting and recording at-sea catch data. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center Observer Program trains, certifies, and equips catch share observers; ensures data quality; and stores, maintains, and analyzes data collected by observers.

Catch Share observers collect the following information:

The Trawl Catch Share Program requires 100% at-sea observer coverage, as all catch of IFQ species/species groups must be accounted for. The observer data will be used to account for any IFQ discard, including the mandatory discarding of Pacific halibut. The observer data, in combination with landings data, will enable the fishermen to track their individual quotas and allow managers to monitor the progress of the fishery.

Vessels that require observer coverage

Steps to get an observer

  1. Vessel contracts with an observer provider (see list below).
  2. Vessel informs observer provider when fishing is scheduled.
  3. Observer is deployed by observer provider to vessel, vessels, or port.
  4. Vessel fishes with a certified observer.*
  5. Vessel remains in contact with observer provider to ensure observer coverage on future trips.

*All vessels participating in the Shorebased IFQ Program must carry a NMFS-certified observer on each trip until all fish from that trip have been offloaded. All vessels greater than 125’ participating in the MS Coop Program or C/P Coop Program must carry two NMFS-certified observers.

More information on the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program and the regulations can be found on the following links:


Observer providers
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Alaskan Observers, Inc.
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site MRAG Americas, Inc.
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Saltwater, Inc.
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site TechSea, International, Inc.