22 Apr 2014

Pacific observers 'eyes and ears' of fisheries management

4:04 am on 22 April 2014

The coordinator of fishing vessel observers in the Pacific says efforts have been made to raise the profile of the job.

The Observer Support and Development Coordinator with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Peter Sharples, says there are over 700 observers throughout the region now.

Their job is to go on fishing boats, sometimes weeks at a time, to collect information for science, and compliance management.

Peter Sharples says they've created certification standards and training to help them deal with situations which could compromise their impartiality.

"The question about vulnerability is an important question, we have to be on the lookout and we try to impart a sense of professionalism and trying to get the fisheries managers in different countries in which I work to understand that these guys they are employing to put out there, they've got to learn to treat them as professionals and hopefully that will reflect in them working as professionals.

Peter Sharples says they discourage observers from drinking with fishermen on board.