Observer removing fish ear bone, or otolithObserver removing the ear bone, termed "otolith", which will be used to estimate the age of this Atlantic cod to be used for stock assessments. Credit: NE Observer Program, NEFSC / NOAA

Northeast Fisheries Observer Program

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has an extensive program to monitor and observe living marine resources and associated communities to provide information on biota, their habitats, and the human activities and actions that may impact coastal and ocean ecosystems. Data are the foundation of scientific advice, which provides information to management to support decision-making. A more consistent flow of high quality, credible information is required to improve decision-making. To collect the quantity and quality of data necessary, NMFS intends to improve its capacity to conduct surveys and to conduct research and studies for better understanding of ecosystems. Although vessel self-reporting is often utilized, only limited data collection demands can reasonably be placed on the captain and crew. Observers are the only independent data source for some types of at-sea information such as bycatch composition and mortality, and marine mammal, sea bird and sea turtle interactions.

For information on the goals of the NEFOP observer program, how observer data are used, the categorization of observed fisheries, and vessel responsibilities and safety requirements for carrying observers please see the NEFOP Observer Duties or NEFOP Fact Sheet.

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Northeast Fisheries Observer Program Contract Information

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) partners with private contractors to supply NEFOP observer support services. The contractor provides a valuable service to assist NOAA in its fisheries mission and stewardship of our fisheries resources. In an effort to release publicly available information regarding these contracted services, NOAA has obtained releasable redacted copies of the NEFOP contract for public viewing. Company proprietary information protected by the Trade Secrets Act has been redacted from the contract documents pursuant to the exemption from public release of such information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  NEFOP services are provided by one contractor under an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, where the contractor is tasked to provide NEFOP services through IDIQ Task Orders.  During the transition from the last IDIQ contract period to the current IDIQ period (April 2012 - April 2013), the NEFOP program has been operating under a transition or "bridge" contract, where services are tasked through a base period and subsequent monthly option periods as needed.

For more information on the IDIQ statement of work (contract objectives, scope, and outcomes) for the NEFOP observer support services contract please see the Request for Proposals (RFP) that was used to solicit and award the IDIQ contract.

Publicly releasable redacted copies of the IDIQ and bridge contract awards for NEFOP observer support services are provided at the following links:

MRAG Americas, Inc. (MRAG)

For more information on the NEFOP contract, please contact Nichole Rossi (508-495-2128).

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