Maritime Stewardship Program

Native Fishery Observer Program (NFOP)


The objective of the NFOP is to build a strong cadre of Observers from among residents of Hawai‘i, the Western Pacific, and other parts of the Pacific Rim. The implications should the fishery diminish to unrecoverable levels, are devastating. The loss of species that are integral to traditional beliefs of the Natives, is a major factor for consideration in the retention of native observers.

The successful completion of the Native Fishery Observer Program will deem the participant eligible to apply for employment, which will ultimately strengthen the communities from which they come.

Native Fishery Observer Program (NFOP)


The Fishery Observer Training Preparatory course will be 3 weeks in duration (Monday-Saturday). This course is designed to cover all facets of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Certification Course.

Upon successful completion of this prep course, trainees must still apply for acceptance to and complete an additional 3 week training in the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Certification Course.

The content of the prep course will cover, but not be limited to the following:

  • Species identification
  • Data Forms, Data Collection and Data Entry
  • Protected Species Data & Handling
  • Vessel Safety at Sea
  • Fishing Gear Characteristics
  • First Aid and CPR Certification
  • Collection of species samples and specimens
  • One day simulation aboard a long-line vessel


  • High School Diploma or equivalent
  • U.S. Citizen or U.S. National status
  • Clearance on State and Federal background checks
  • Minimum of 12th grade proficiency on reading and math tests
  • Pass a physical fitness exam and drug screen upon acceptance
  • Native Hawaiian, Native American, Native Alaska Indian, Pacific Islander (Born within the western Pacific Islands) are encouraged to apply, however all ethnicities are eligible
  • A desire to make a difference in the stewardship of our ocean resources

Cost: None

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Inouye Regional Center - Ford Island
Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawai'i