NOAA Studies Compare Human Vs. Electronic Fisheries Monitoring

Observer collecting length measurement of an Atlantic cod during a groundfish trawl trip. Credit: NE Observer Program, NEFSC / NOAA
Observer collecting length measurement of an Atlantic cod during a groundfish trawl trip. Credit: NE Observer Program, NEFSC / NOAA

NOAA Fisheries has released 2 reports comparing the costs of using in-person, at-sea monitors and observers against a proposed electronic monitoring system in hypothetical Northeast groundfish and Atlantic herring/mackerel fisheries. (At-sea observers are individuals who monitor a fishing boat’s catch to record information on bycatch, water conditions, areas fished and other data.)

NOAA studies found that electronic technologies can be a cost-efficient monitoring option in some cases, but not always. Its findings suggest technology, such as onboard camera systems, may be most cost-effective for monitoring compliance, such as in the midwater trawl herring and mackerel fisheries. The recent reports also show that human observers proved more cost-efficient than electronic technologies at catch accounting, such as required for groundfish sectors.

 

Read the full reports, including details about factors driving program costs and our assumptions.