Observer collecting scale samples from a yellowtail flounderObserver collecting scale samples from a yellowtail flounder. Scales can be used to estimate the age of the fish. This information, combined with the length of the fish will add to the robustness of the stock assessment. Credit: NE Observer Program, NEFSC / NOAA

Observer Program Data and Forms

For Fishermen

Data Release Policy, Instructions, and Forms

The Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) recognizes the importance for fishermen to obtain a copy of the data that NEFOP observers and At-Sea Monitors (ASMs) collect on their vessels. Our data release policy follows the confidentiality requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to ensure data is released under the property authority and safeguarded. Please see below for details pertaining to the data requests for NMFS observer-obtained information

      Chief, Fisheries Sampling Branch
      National Marine Fisheries Service
      Northeast Fisheries Science Center
      166 Water Street
      Woods Hole, MA 02543-1097

Any questions or other requests relating to data release should also be directed to the above address.

Please see below for data release forms.

The Paper Reduction Act (PRA)

The observer program provides information that is used in analyses that support the conservation and management of living marine resources and that are required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), Executive Order 12866 (EO 12866), and other applicable law. Most of the information collected by observers is obtained through “direct observation by an employee or agent of the sponsoring agency or through non-standardized oral communication in connection with such direct observations".

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) regulations at 5 C.F.R. 1320.3(h)(3), facts or opinions obtained through such observations and communications are not considered to be "information" subject to the PRA. For more information on the PRA, please see the Federal Register. The PRA Statement below includes information on the data collected through the Fisheries Sampling Branch and associated public reporting burden.

For Observers

For End Users

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(File Modified Nov. 01 2017)