case study

Groundfish at-sea observer program

Archipelago has trained and provided certified at-sea observers for domestic and international vessels since 1985. Through its groundfish at-sea observer program, the company provides 100% at-sea monitoring services for all groundfish fisheries—including international vessels—fishing within Canada’s Pacific Region zone.


 

As Western Canada’s largest and longest running observer-services company, Archipelago Marine Research has trained and provided certified at–sea observers for domestic and international vessels since 1985.

Portfolio groundfish at sea observerSpecializing in groundfish and shellfish fisheries, Archipelago’s certified observer services enable commercial fisheries to ensure compliance with fishery regulations, while supporting in–season fishery management, stock assessment, and scientific research initiatives.

The Pacific groundfish at–sea observer program originated from a national requirement for all foreign fishing vessels to carry an onboard observer when conducting fishing and processing operations within Canada’s 200–mile jurisdiction. A decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to contract out this service led to the development of expertise within a private firm ensuring a dependable source of independent, third-party observer services would be available on a contract basis. The increasing need for the independent collection of at–sea data from a growing number of domestic fisheries has led to an expanded scope and complexity within the program.

Elements of a groundfish at-sea observer program

The groundfish at–sea observer program monitors all groundfish fisheries—including international vessels—fishing within Canada’s Pacific Region zone. This integral component of the region’s fisheries management framework includes:

  • Detailed catch monitoring of all species including utilization to provide total mortality of all species (spatially and temporally)
  • Rigorous sampling for stock assessment and other scientific research
  • Compliance monitoring and reporting
  • Rapid (48 hour) turn–around of all key catch data for real–time fisheries management
  • More than 5,000 seadays per year over a range of fisheries utilizing a variety of gear types on vessels from 5-40 meters

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