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Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis

The Observer Declare and Deploy System (ODDS)

Research Reports
Winter 2015
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The Observer Declare and Deploy System (ODDS) is an internet-based system that requires a vessel operator to log a fishing trip, and provides instant notification if the vessel is selected for observer coverage. ODDS has greatly improved NOAA Fisheries customer service capabilities by automating a process that had previously been done manually. Prior to 2013, vessels in the partial coverage fisheries were allowed to self-select when to carry an observer and contacted observer provider companies independently.

The ODDS system was designed to 1) automate the process of randomly deploying observers across a broad spectrum of fisheries in Alaska; 2) provide a system whereby observer provider companies can assign and track observers deployed to specific vessels, and 3) monitor whether vessels selected for observer coverage are actually carrying observers by tracking the offload, thus providing an enforcement mechanism as well.

In 2014 the Center's Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division (FMA), through the Council process, implemented an Annual Deployment Plan (ADP) for 2015 that changed the way small vessels (40 – 57.5 feet in length) are selected for observer coverage. These vessels were previously sent selection letters requiring them to carry an observer for a 2-month period, whereas vessels >57.5 feet have been using ODDS since restructure implementation in 2013.

Now, the ADP establishes a process whereby vessels formerly in the vessel selection pool use the ODDS system to log trips and be notified of observer coverage requirements on a trip by trip basis through ODDS. This allows NMFS to manage the random selection and deployment of observers through the ODDS system. The ODDS system has improved efficiency, customer service and reduced need for administrative support..

By Gwynne Schnaittacher


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