The CCAMLR Scheme of International Scientific Observation was adopted in 1992 under Article XXIV of the Convention. It is one of the most important sources of scientific information that is essential for assessing the impact of fishing on the ecosystem, including the status of target populations, as well as those of related and dependent species. The scheme also plays a crucial role in developing approaches to reducing the impact of fishing on the ecosystem by collecting data on the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
All vessels fishing in CCAMLR fisheries are required to carry an observer for some or all of their fishing operations. In fisheries for icefish and toothfish there is a requirement for 100% coverage by an international (i.e. not from the same flag state as the vessel) observer, while in the krill fishery there is a target coverage of 50% using either international or national observers.
Observers record information on the gear configuration (including measures to reduce incidental mortality of seabirds and marine mammals), fishing operations (including catch composition), biological measurements of target and by-catch species, details of fish tagging and tag-recaptures, vessel sightings and data on indicators of vulnerable marine ecosystems. All of these data are submitted by observers to the CCAMLR Secretariat on standardised logbook forms designed for longline, trawl (finfish and krill) and pot (crabs and finfish) fisheries.
The Secretariat coordinates implementation of the scheme through a network of national technical coordinators designated by Members.
To assist CCAMLR Members in planning observation programs and recording data, the Secretariat has developed a Scientific Observers Manual in consultation with the Scientific Committee, its working groups and observers in the field. The manual contains a comprehensive range of scientific observation guidelines and reference materials.