FOA Primary goal is to contribute towards sustainable utilisation of Marine Resources within the Namibian EEZ and international waters by providing an efficient and a transparent service to all its stakeholders through actively monitoring the compliance with Marine legislation and the collection of relevant and reliable scientific data.

The presence of Fisheries Observers on-board fishing vessels, and on the fishing grounds, is instrumental in preventing illegal fishing activities as well as complementing international measures aimed at curbing illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities. Scientific data collected by observers is used as an important variable in the stock assessment process, to define fishery dynamics and population distributions of target species, as well as support to other fisheries management programmes.

The Objectives of the FOA as stated in the Governance Agreement are to:

  • undertake independent observations of the harvesting of marine biological resources in and outside Namibian waters to provide catch, by-catch, and biological data necessary to support in-season monitoring and stock assessment, as required by the Ministry;
  • complement the Ministry’s monitoring, control, surveillance and scientific activities through the provision of prompt and accurate information;
  • provide information necessary to support management of marine mammals and other protected species; and
  • provide information necessary to support other specified science and management programs

Fisheries observers are also deployed on vessels fishing on international waters and in areas governed by the Convention of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), to observe the fishing activities and record the necessary data for stock assessment by scientists of those regional organisations.

Fisheries observers regularly join swordfish, large pelagic longline, and shark vessels fishing on international waters and work together with other observers from different countries.

The FOA has no law enforcement powers; thus its mandate is restricted to – Observer, Record, and Report. All non-compliance issues recorded in Namibian waters are report to the Directorate of Operations in the MFMR for further action while all scientific data collected are forwarded to the directorate of resource management within the MFMR.