The Regional Observer Programme (ROP) was developed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). It builds on national, sub-regional and regional observer programmes already in place.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Pacific Community’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) provide technical support to the national observer programmes.

The WCPFC assesses the results of the ROP. It periodically collects and reviews data submitted as part of the programme, and recommends changes. The commission is responsible for making sure confidential data is kept secure and is released only when appropriate.

Observers play a crucial role in ensuring that fisheries are sustainable. Photo credit: Francisco Blaha.

It continues to develop the programme, which is coordinated by the secretariat of the commission. It:

  1. maintains the programme manual and observer workbook
  2. coordinates activities with other programmes
  3. monitors trainers and courses to maintain standards
  4. makes sure other programmes meet ROP standards
  5. makes sure the correct information is collected, stored, and sent out
  6. authorises observers
  7. reports annually on the programme.

To be part of the WCPFC ROP, other programmes need to be audited and authorised by the secretariat.

The commission publishes standards for setting up and running observer programmes. WCPFC Regional Observer Programme standards and guidelines (896.79 KB) were updated for 2019. The commission also publishes a list of providers and coordinators for observers (also updated for 2019).