Observer Programmes

 

Fishery observer programmes are increasingly being used by resource management agencies, RFMOs and other stakeholders to provide independent data on parameters important in managing fisheries, including quantity, composition and location of catches, type of gear used, and interactions with protected species.  

The MRAG companies have built up substantial experience in the design and implementation of fishery observer programmes.  We have designed and implemented fishery observer programmes in the south Atlantic (South Georgia), south west Indian Ocean (Prince Edward Islands), central western Indian Ocean (British Indian Ocean Territory), the northwest Atlantic (NAFO Regulatory Area), Pacific Ocean (Hawaiian and Samoan longline) and Alaska, amongst others. The scope of these operations has ranged from the supply of an individual observer to servicing a fleet of 30 or more offshore vessels, requiring substantial logistic support and management.

MRAG has also considerable experience in reviewing observer programmes including completing an independent review of the largest observer programme in the world, the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program off the coast of Alaska.

We can provide a complete end-to-end service involving:
� Observer recruitment
� Training
� Program oversight
� Scientific and safety equipment supply
� Development of observer manuals specific to the fishery
� Data collection and handling including database design and management
� Travel logistics
� Safety and work clothing
� Insurance
� Technical support
� Data analysis and report production

MRAG has supplied experienced observers to operate on a wide range of fishing vessels. These have included: demersal trawl, gill net and longline vessels; pelagic longline and purse seine vessels; pot vessels (crab and fish) and inshore reef fishing mothership-dory vessels.