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NMFS-National Observer Program (NOP)
browse graphic The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) deploys fishery observers to collect catch data from US commercial fishing and processing vessels. Approximately 20 different fisheries are monitored by observer programs annually. NMFS has been using observers to collect fisheries data from 1972 to the present. Observers have monitored fishing activities on all US coasts, collecting data for a range of conservation and management issues. The National Marine Fisheries Service coordinates observer program management through the NMFS Office of Science and Technology/National Observer Program (NOP). The NOP seeks to support regional observer programs and increase their usefulness to the overall goals of NMFS. Improvements in data collection, observer training, safety, outreach, and the integration of observer data with other research are among the important issues that the NOP works with on a national level.