Division of Marine Fisheries Observer Program — Introduction
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Observer Program is designed to collect at-sea information about the commercial and recreational catch for use in fisheries management decisions, stock assessments, development of fishery management plans, and conservation of protected species.
Through the Observer Program, observers or Marine Patrol officers have collected data from gill net, long haul seine, trawl net, channel net and recreational hook and line fisheries. The data is collected either onboard fishermen’s vessels or from a division vessel operated in the vicinity of gear being fished.
Fishermen are required by N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission rule, the federal Endangered Species Act and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act to carry observers on board when asked. Failure to do so may lead to enforcement action against the fisherman and could close the fishery for all users. The listing of a species as endangered makes it illegal to "take" (harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or attempt to do these things) that species. For more information on the Endangered Species Act, please visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa/.