Working and living aboard domestic fishing vessels, AOI's observers sample catches for species composition, and for the incidence of salmon, halibut, and crab; they make estimates of total catch; and they collect age structures and gather biological data from target species. The National Marine Fisheries Service uses this information for the purposes of both in-season management and to establish fishing quotas for future seasons.
Gathering, sorting, and weighing a sample at sea is a physically demanding job, and recording the data gathered requires a biologist's attention to detail. Nearly all of our observers are assigned to vessels, though at any one time we do have one or two observers stationed in shore-based or floating processing plants in Alaska. All the vessels we cover are U.S. flagged, and the vast majority of them work in the Bering Sea or Gulf of Alaska; a smaller number work off the West Coast.
This is not a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job--rather, twelve to fourteen hour days are the rule, and observers can generally expect to work in three to four-hour bursts three or four times during each day when their vessel is fishing. If a vessel is fishing at night, then sampling must be done at night--sleep has to be fit around an erratic schedule. The work is further complicated by the fact that observers and fisherman have different objectives--diplomatic efforts on the observer's part, aimed at securing a mutually agreeable working environment, are often part of the job.
QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in fisheries biology, marine biology, general biology, zoology, or a related natural science. Also required, both one math class, one statistics class, and at least 30 credit hrs of applicable biological coursework.
If you are interested in applying for the job, please go to our website and submit the online application. Additionally, please email a resume and transcripts.
Rachel Moore, Alaskan Observers Inc.
130 Nickerson, Suite 206
Seattle , Washington 98109