NOTICE: Parts of the U.S. Government are closed. This site will not be updated; however, NOAA websites and social media channels necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained. See for critical weather information. To learn more, see

Northeast Fisheries Observers: What to Expect During Training

Training Topic Overview Timeframe
Offshore Safety Training
Training is designed specifically for sea going persons.  In this course trainees will learn skills including:
  • Identifying risks
  • How to properly use all issued safety equipment
  • Survival techniques
  • Fire fighting basics
  • Marine radios & Mayday calls
  • Abandon ship
  • Man overboard
  • De-watering pump
  • Overview of vessels
16 hours
(2 days)
Species Identification Training will cover fish and other species common to the N. Atlantic.  This will include:
  • Species ID Exam (minimum 85%)
  • Marine mammal, sea bird, and sea turtle ID Exam (minimum 85%)
  • Species ID homework and workshops
~14 hours
Targeted Fishery Training Training will cover the following fisheries, which will include how to collect gear, haul, and economic information:
  • Trawl Fishery
  • Gillnet Fishery
  • Bottom Longline Fishery
16 hours
Catch Estimation Training will cover in detail how at-sea monitors will collect catch information.  This includes a combination of:
  • Lecture
  • Active workshops
  • Scenarios
8 hours
Conflict Resolution Training is designed to introduce trainees to common problems related to at-sea monitoring and to provide them with a variety of tools to effectively deal with situations associated with a sea going occupation.  This includes:
  • Identifying problems
  • Common courtesies
  • Role Play
2 hours
Dockside & Vessel Tour Trainees will be brought to actual fishing docks and given tours of commercial fishing vessels.  This includes:
  • Vessel orientation
  • Terminology
  • Vessel Safety
  • Dock safety
4 hours
Panel Discussion Trainees will have the opportunity to speak Q&A style with persons involved in commercial fishing.  This includes representatives from:
  • Office of Law Enforcement
  • United States Coast Guard
  • Sector Participants
  • Dealers
  • Fishery Experts
2-4 hours
Dockside Monitoring Training The Dockside Monitor’s job is to collect trip-identifying information and a neutral record of the total weights landed by species for selected vessels participating in a sector.  This includes:
  • Vessel information
  • Dealer information
  • Gear type
Dockside Monitoring Stand Alone: 
4 days total

Dockside only portion of Combined Training:
8-10 hours

Miscellaneous Items
  • Sector Introduction
  • Data quality
  • Falsification of Data & Decertification
  • Introduction to Staff
  • Provider Activities (as needed)
~6-8 hours
NMFS Certification Upon satisfactory completion of program
  • Overall 85% minimum score
Total Training Time
10 days

For additional information or questions regarding Sector Training: email Katherine McArdle, NEFSC Fisheries Sampling Branch.

Link disclaimer | Email webmaster | Privacy policy |     File Modified Jan 10, 2018