Observers have been at the heart of Saltwater’s work since the first U.S. observer programs were established. With over 30 years of experience, we recruit, train and deploy the best in the field.
Saltwater’s team of more than 100 professional biologists logs about 15,000 sea days each year, working aboard commercial fishing boats, research vessels, industry platforms, and dockside. They collect critical data – including biological samples – of fish, marine mammals, seabirds and the ocean. This data is critical to sustainable management of our fisheries and the protection of threatened and endangered species.
As a Saltwater client – or deployed observer – you’re supported 24/7 by experienced program managers based in Kodiak, Seattle, and San Francisco.
North Pacific Observer Program
Saltwater has provided observers to the North Pacific Observer Program (NPOP) since it began in 1990. Alaska’s groundfish fishery is year-round with trawlers, longliners, and pot fishermen harvesting cod, pollock, halibut, mackerel, sablefish, and rockfish. The fishery is managed by quota and, depending on coverage requirements, vessels are required to carry observers on some or all of their trips. Vessels fish from ports throughout Alaska. We recruit year-round and nationwide to ensure that we have an outstanding pool of qualified biologists ready to deploy and ready to collect high quality data.
Alaska Shellfish Observer Programs
The Bering Sea is world renowned for its crab and scallop fisheries, which are managed by quota by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and made famous by the TV show, Deadliest Catch. Saltwater’s observers work right alongside fishermen in freezing temps and rolling seas collecting data on catch, bycatch, and fishing effort. Fishery managers use the data to set and manage annual harvest quotas, monitor bycatch, and track fishing effort, which is critical to ensuring that the fisheries remain healthy and sustainable. Our team of observers and managers are the best the field, which is one reason why ADF&G has repeatedly chosen Saltwater as its sole observer provider.
West Coast Groundfish Observer Program
Trawlers that fish along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington are required to carry an observer who collects biological samples and information on fishing effort catch, bycatch and discards. Saltwater has provided observers to work in this fishery since the introduction of the catch share program in 2011. Both vessels and shore plants contract directly with Saltwater to provide at-sea and dockside observers who collect data critical for in-season management by NOAA-Fisheries.
Atlantic Herring Fishery Observer Program
In 2018, the New England Fishery Management Council approved a new approach to monitoring the Atlantic herring midwater trawl fleet. In this Industry Funded Monitoring (IFM) model, vessels can choose to carry at-sea observers or electronic monitoring (EM) combined with port samplers to meet monitoring requirements. Saltwater is certified to provide EM and port samplers; vessels contract directly with Saltwater, which delivers the data to NEFOP.