Use human observers onboard fishing vessels to monitor catches and discards
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Marine fisheries throughout the world are often managed by a series of technical or spatial measures that aim to ensure the sustainable harvest of an important food resource whilst conserving and enhancing the marine environment. The success of such management plans relies on compliance with the regulations as well as accurate information on commercial and non-target catches and fishing effort, as well as discards and the operational characteristics of fisheries. One way to encourage compliance and at the same time provide useful unbiased data may be to use trained scientific observers onboard commercial vessels to record the details of catches and fishing deployments. Onboard human observation can document and interpret many at-sea activities that other monitoring systems are unable to provide, for example, catch composition, discarding activity, bycatch handling and determining bycatch condition and fate on release (Ewell et al. 2020). This may ultimately help ensure better compliance and management of the fisheries and improved protection of fish habitats.
For a similar intervention relating to onboard monitoring of catches, see ‘Enforcement and Compliance to Reduce Illegal Fishing - Use onboard CCTV for monitoring catches and discards’.
Ewell C., Hocevar J., Mitchell E. Snowden S. & Jacquet (2020) An evaluation of Regional Fisheries Management Organization at-sea compliance monitoring and observer programs. Marine Policy, 115, 103842.