The Azores Fisheries Observer Program (POPA) was created in 1998 to ensure the sustainability of the Azorean pole-and-line tuna fishery in line with emerging environmental certifications. POPA collects and analyses extensive scientific data on the Azores’ one-by-one tuna fishery, primarily through its onboard observer coverage program.
Today, POPA is the longest-standing, nonstop fisheries monitoring program in Europe, providing data on the pole-and-line tuna fishery, several species of cetaceans, sea turtles and seabirds, as well as marine litter and selected environmental parameters. POPA’s database contains over five million records covering information on approximately one million square miles of ocean environment. The data maintains the fisheries certification and contributes to numerous peer reviewed and published papers.
POPA is managed by the Institute of Sea Research (IMAR) based on the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries of the University of the Azores and works closely with the Fishing Boat Owners Association (APASA), the Tuna Canning Industry Association (Pão do Mar), the Regional Administration and the Earth Island Institute and is now partnered with the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF). Through this partnership, IPNLF and POPA will work to further amplify the voice of the program and the one-by-one fisheries supporting it.