Fisheries Monitoring

MRAG Americas has developed extensive experience in support of observer and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) programs in the US and, through our sister company MRAG Ltd, throughout the world. MRAG provides observers to national and international agencies, provides analyses of observer program performance, and helps agencies prepare for and conduct observer-oriented workshops and conferences. Combined, MRAG Americas and MRAG Ltd have designed, implemented and/or run a number of observer programs throughout the world including:

  • The New South Wales Ocean Haul Fishery;
  • The Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program;
  • The US Virgin Islands Pilot Observer Program;
  • The South Atlantic (South Georgia) Observer Program;
  • The Southwest Indian Ocean (Prince Edward Islands) Observer Program;
  • The Western Indian Ocean (British Indian Ocean Territory) Observer Program;
  • The Northwest Atlantic (NAFO Regulatory Area) Observer Program;
  • The Irish Sea Observer Program;
  • Hawaiian and Samoan Longline Fisheries Observer Program;
  • Northeast Fishery At-Sea Monitoring and Observer Programs.

The scope of these operations has considerable range from the supply of an individual observer in a small tropical fishery to coverage of a large offshore fleet. All programs involve the collection, handling and analysis of substantial amounts of scientific and technical data on fishing operations.

For information specific to our current observer programs, please visit our Observer Programs page.

MRAG Americas has also conducted an independent review of the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program off the coast of Alaska, the largest observer program in the world. Through work with the Environmental Defense Fund, we were able to define and test the conditions required for regional collaboration in the area of fisheries MCS from the perspective of sustainable resource management.

In addition, MRAG has experience designing and implementing complete fisheries MCS schemes. We have conducted MCS management of the offshore fisheries in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and South Georgia (under the auspices of the Commission for the Conservation for Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)). This has involved complete MCS operations of fisheries through the use of patrol boats, fisheries inspectors, vessel monitoring systems (VMS), observers and through the design, development and implementation of a complete MCS regulatory and administrative framework.

Observer / MCS Services Offered

  • Providing observers
  • Operation of Observer Programs
  • Observer program Support and Review
  • Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)
  • Support for Law Enforcement Programs
  • Observer Training
  • Electronic Monitoring (EM)

Observer / MCS Projects Completed

  • Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program (Client: NMFS, Alaska Fisheries Science Center)
  • Environmental Impact Statement Inputs: Description and cost of an observer program for the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery (Client: URS / Dames and Moore)
  • North Pacific Observer Technology (Client: North Pacific Fishery Management Council)
  • Observer-Based Surveys of Ocean Haul Netting from Beaches in New South Wales (Client: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries)
  • Pacific Halibut observers working with Electronic Monitoring equipment for bycatch characterization (Client: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission)
  • Pilot Observer Program for the US Caribbean (Client: Caribbean Fishery Management Council)
  • NMFS Alaskan Groundfish Observer Program (Client: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS))
  • Rapporteur and moderator for a NMFS workshop on determining optimal observer coverage rates (Client: Alaska Fishery Science Center)
  • Rapporteur for National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) workshop: U.S. Fisheries Observer Insurance Issues (Client: Alaska Fishery Science Center)
  • Review of the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Programme (Client: Alaska Fishery Science Center)
  • St. Thomas Pilot Observer Program (Client: NMFS, Southeast Fisheries Science Center)