The Fisheries Sampling Branch (FSB) manages the Northeast Fishery Observer Program (NEFOP) and the At-Sea Monitoring Program (ASM) which collects, processes and manages data and biological samples obtained during commercial fishing trips. These data are collected by trained fishery observers for scientific and fisheries management purposes.
Observed trips are required under many of the region's fishery management plans, and for some fisheries by other federal laws and authorities such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Sustainable Fisheries Act.
Fisheries Observers Make a Difference!
If you are interested in becoming an observer, certain qualifications must be met, and you must go through training. Observers are hired as federal contractors through one of the approved providers; please contact them directly for employment opportunities. The International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference (IFOMC) develops, promotes, and enhances effective fishery monitoring programs to ensure sustainable resource management throughout the world's oceans. Their mission is to improve fishery monitoring and observing programs worldwide through sharing practices and development of data collection and analysis. Be sure to check out our FAQ page. Learn more about the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program >>
TIES THAT BIND: Observing Northeast Fisheries from Cognitive Dissonante Studios is a 4-part documentary that explores the nature of fisheries, science, and resource management by coming to know a few of the personalities behind the process. Watch on Vimeo >>
Want to Make A Difference? A glimpse into the training of an observer and the program's purpose.
Observer Regulations and Mandates
- Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA)
- At-Sea Sampler/Observer Coverage - Oct 2008
- Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)
- Annual List of Fisheries - Mar 2014
- Endangered Species Act (ESA)
- Observer Requirement for Fisheries under ESA - Aug 2007
- Standardized Bycatch Reporting
- Industry Funded Scallop Framework - Jun 2007
- Observer Health and Safety Regulations - Nov 2007
- Sustainable Fisheries Act - Oct 1996
- NE Fisheries Regulations
- NE Fisheries Observer Program Request Notice - Feb 2008 (what to expect during an observed trip)
- USCG Safety Examiners Contact List for Fishermen - Oct 2012
- Observer Harassment Warning
- NEFOP Selection Letter - Aug 2012
- Joint Letter on Observer Courtesy - May 2013