The Research Division (RD) is the largest of NORMA’s Divisions and carries out some of the most significant of NORMA’s program activities. The core function of the RD is management of NORMA’s National Fisheries Observer Program (NFOP). The NFOP has trained and employed over 50 young men from throughout the FSM to collect and verify key scientific data while onboard fishing vessels in the FSM Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and throughout the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). The work of an observer is not easy and their importance to a well‐managed fishery cannot be underestimated. As such, NORMA places a high priority on the effective management of its NFOP and the resources required to support it.
Scientific research is supported significantly by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Oceanic Fisheries Program (SPC‐OFP) out of Noumea, New Caledonia. NORMA’s observers and port samplers collect scientific data and submit it to SPC‐OFP for processing and analysis. With the help of two data entry personnel at NORMA, critical scientific data is entered into a regional database for submission to the SPC‐OFP scientists. Without the scientific data collected by NORMA’s observers, port samplers and biologists, and the support of the SPC, NORMA and its management partners throughout the region would not be able to make key conservation and management decisions on the tuna fishery. The RD performs its functions through the additional support of employees. These include a Port Sampler, an Observer Debriefer/Trainer, Observer Coordinator, Assistant Observer Coordinator, Electronic Reporting and Monitoring Coordinator.