Fisheries Observer Programmes

CapMarine is responsible for many observer programmes and have provided scientific observers for numerous sectors operating in national and international waters.

The primary role of a scientific fisheries observer is to collect commercial catch and effort data for each fishing event. Such data is often comprehensive, requiring  well-trained, experienced and detail oriented observers. Observers also sample the catch and record biometrics of target and non target species. Equally important is the recording of interactions between fishing activities and Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species.

Observers spend anywhere from 1 day to 3 months out at sea, often unsupervised and in unsympathetic conditions. Thereafter, they return to be “debriefed” by our in-house coordinators. A debriefing consists of reviewing, checking and validating the data, which is then immediately captured into our electronic database system, making the data available for analyses. Debriefing also involves discussing any unusual occurrences, violations observed, and any safety problems or other hardships endured during the trip. To succeed, observers must therefore have a high degree of personal integrity and stamina in order to achieve their objectives. CapMarine provides observers for:

South African Deep Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA)

South East Coast Industry Association (SECIFA)

South Africa Tuna Association (SATA)

South African Hake Long Line Association (SAHLLA)

Horse mackerel midwater trawl fishery

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

Other Observer Programmes


International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)

Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).


Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) 

West coast rock lobster fishery