Australia’s sub-Antarctic and Antarctic fisheries observer program is administered by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), with technical and data management support from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Australian observers work on both trawl and longline vessels targeting finfish in the CCAMLR area. As the assessments and conservation measures employed by CCAMLR increase in sophistication, the tasks required to be completed by observers are increasing in number and complexity. Such a set of qualities is rarely available ‘off the shelf’. To ensure that observers in these fisheries are able to complete the broad range of task required under the CCAMLR System of International Scientific Observation (SISO) and under domestic legislation, a system of performance management and data quality assurance has been developed. This system covers all aspects of the observers’ experience in the work place, from initial recruitment through training, accreditation and ongoing performance assessment. Australia considers the use of such a performance management system to be essential in ensuring that high quality data continues to be collected by SISO.