Observer Programmes

MRAG has designed and implemented a number of fishery observer programmes in the South Atlantic Ocean (e.g. South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Falkland Islands, St Helena and the ICCAT regional observer programme (transhipment), Bouvet Island), Indian Ocean (e.g. IOTC regional observer programme (transhipment), British Indian Ocean Territory, Prince Edward Islands), North Atlantic (ICCAT bluefin tuna observer programme, NAFO Regulatory Area and UK flagged vessels in EU waters) amongst other locations. 

The scope of these operations has ranged from the supply of an individual experienced observer deployed on a fishing vessel undertaking exploratory fishing, to servicing a fleet of 90 or more offshore vessels, requiring substantial logistic support and management. These may cover purely compliance focussed programmes monitoring catch, effort and vessel activities, purely scientific focussing on catch composition, bycatch estimation and collection of biological data, or in many cases a combination of both compliance and science.

MRAG has provided advice to Governments, RFMOs, Agencies and NGOs on the development, design, management and review of observer programmes.  For instance, we have provided advice on the setup of the Namibian Fisheries Observer Agency, advice to WCPFC on the requirements and setup of their regional observer programme and have conducted an independent review of the largest observer programme in the world, the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program off the coast of Alaska. 

MRAG provides a complete end-to-end observer service involving: 

  • Observer recruitment;
  • Training;
  • Programme oversight;
  • Supply of scientific and safety equipment; 
  • Development of observer protocols and manuals specific to the fishery;
  • Data collection and handling including database design and management;
  • Travel logistics;
  • Insurance;
  • Technical support; and 
  • Data analysis and report production.

Information on our current recruitment for observer programmes can be found at 

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