A certified person on board fishing vessels who collects scientific and technical information for the management authority on the fishing operations and the catch. Observer programs can be used for monitoring fishing operations (for example, areas fished, fishing effort, gear characteristics, catches and species caught, discards, collecting tag returns). Observers usually have some degree of independence from the fishing operator and may or may not have legal coercion powers, and their data may or may not be used for non-scientific purposes (for example, enforcement).