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Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division (FMA)

North Pacific Observer Program Activities in 2013 

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Oct-Nov-Dec 2013
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refer to caption  
A North Pacific groundfish observer collecting specimen data from Pacific cod while deployed on a fixed gear vessel.  

For the 2013 fishing year, 828 observers were trained, briefed, and equipped for deployment to vessels and processing facilities operating in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. These observers collected data onboard 367 fixed gear and trawl vessels and at 14 processing facilities for a total of 43,643 observer days.

New observer candidates are required to complete a 3-week training class with 120 hours of scheduled class time and additional training by FMA staff as necessary. The FMA Division conducted training for 186 new observers to deploy in 2013 compared to 168 new observers in 2012.

Returning observers are required to attend an annual 4-day briefing class prior to their first deployment each calendar year. These briefings provide observers with annual updates regarding their responsibilities for the current sampling period during the fishing season. Prior to subsequent deployments, all observers must attend a 1-day, 2-day or 4-day briefing; the length of the briefing each observer attends is dependent on that individual's needs. In 2013, FMA staff provided briefings for 281 observers.

After each deployment, observers meet with a FMA staff member for debriefing to review the sample design and finalize the data collected. There were 97 debriefings in Anchorage completed by 3 FMA staff and 572 debriefings in Seattle completed by 15 FMA staff. Many observers deploy multiple times throughout the year and debrief after each contract followed by a briefing for redeployment. Thus, the total number of briefings and debriefings for 2013 do not represent a count of individual observers.

Each year brings some degree of change to observer data collections as part of our efforts to meet the needs of the end data users. In preparation for this year's fishing season, the 2014 Observer Sampling Manual was updated to reflect changes of how data will be collected on vessels participating in our partial coverage program as well as including sampling protocol for new data collection projects. The manual is available on the FMA website (2014 Observer Sampling Manual).  



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