Observer Declare and Deploy System (ODDS)
Beginning in 2015, NMFS will change from a vessel-selection method to a trip-selection method to assign observers to vessels. There will be two vessel selection pools that only apply to vessels qualifying for partial observer coverage. These two pools combined have a 50% chance of observer coverage.
Small Vessel: Vessels equal to 40′ or greater but less than 57.5′ length overall and fishing hook-and-line or pot gear. These vessels have a 12% chance of being assigned an observer for any trip.
Large Vessel: There are three classes of vessels in this pool: 1) all vessels fishing trawl gear, 2) vessels over 57.5′ length overall and fishing hook-and-line or pot gear, 3) catcher processor vessels exempt from the full-time observer coverage requirements. These vessels have a 24% chance of being assigned an observer.
Vessels under 40′ length overall are exempt from the observer programs. In 2015, NMFS does not plan on releasing any large vessels from the trip-selection program. Small vessels may be released under two conditions: 1) vessels with insufficient life-raft capacity to support an observer, 2) vessels that have been assigned an observer two trips in a row are exempt from taking an observer on their third trip. Vessels that elected to participate in the Electronic Monitoring research project will be exempt from carrying a human observer.
Trips can be logged over the phone or through the online system. Trips must be logged at least 72 hours before a vessel leaves port. Trips can be logged up to 30 days in advance and up to 3 can be logged at once. The online system immediately informs you if you have been assigned an observer or not. Once trips are logged they can be changed. If a trip was not assigned an observer it will still not be assigned an observer if it is changed. The website has two portals to log trips through. One for a vessel, this is for operations where more than one captain may run a vessel through out the year. The other is for captains, this is for sole owners and operators of their vessels.