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Fisheries Observer

MRAG Americas, Inc.

Long Island ,  New York

MRAG Americas (MRAG) is currently hiring Fisheries Observers to collect data while deployed onboard US domestic commercial fishing vessels. Current vacancies for upcoming trainings are focusing on observers to be based out of the Mid-Atlantic area, ranging from Long Island, New York to North Carolina.   MRAG Americas is currently accepting competitive applications for two summer trainings, slated for June and July in Falmouth, MA at the NOAA FSB Tech Park office.

All trainings take place in Falmouth, MA with at-sea deployments starting upon completion. Training consists of classroom days and additional at-sea training trips until certification is achieved. Fisheries Observers collect scientific, management, compliance, and other data at sea through observations of fishing operations, interviews of vessel captains and crew, photographing catch, and taking measurements of selected portions of the catch and fishing gear.

The data and information collected by observers are used to monitor the amount and disposition of catch and bycatch, understand status and trends of fish stocks and protected species, record interactions with protected species, determine the benefits derived from fishing activities, and predict impacts of existing and proposed management actions.

Observers live and sleep in cramped quarters, often in damp conditions and share common facilities. Fisheries observers are allocated to a primary port from which most trips will depart, however, observers must be willing to travel to cover locations other than their primary ports. Good communication skills are important to communicate with captains and setup observer trips.

Observers’ responsibilities include:

  • Communicating with skippers and the MRAG Coordinator to arrange embarkation on vessels
  • Conducting pre-trip safety inspection;
  • Communicating observer duties and data collection needs with vessel crew;
  • Collecting operational information, such as trip costs (i.e. price of fuel, ice, etc.).
  • Collecting fishing gear information;
  • Collecting tow-by-tow information (i.e. depth, water temperature, wave height, vessel location, and time when fishing begins and ends);
  • Recording all kept and discarded catch data on observed hauls (species, weight, and disposition)
  • Recording kept catch on unobserved hauls (species, weight, and disposition);
  • Collecting actual catch weights whenever possible, or weight estimates derived by sub-sampling;
  • Collecting whole specimens, photos, and biological samples (i.e. scales, ear bones, and/or spines from fish, invertebrates, and incidental takes)
  • Recording information on interactions with protected species, such as sea turtles, porpoise, dolphins, whales, and birds.

The position requires:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences.
  • A minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in the biological sciences.
  • At least one undergraduate course in math or statistics
  • Experience with computer data entry
  • Physical fitness, including the ability to swim 100m, tread water for three (3) minutes, don an immersion suit in less than 60 seconds, climb a ladder, lift and carry 100 pounds  correctly.
  • Off–shore or vessel related experience preferred.
  • Low susceptibility to and/or a tolerance of motion sickness
  • Adept at working in adverse weather conditions
  • The ability to live in confined quarters with strangers in a high stress environment
  • Ability to solicit and set up observer assignments independently
  • Depending on circumstances, be willing and able to deploy with as little as 4 hours or less advance notice.
  • Current First Aid/Adult CPR certifications

Other incentives MRAG provides to our NE staff:

  • Incentive/Bonus program to reward good performance and data quality
  • Opportunities to participate in advanced training programs depending on program status and logistics
  • Employee housing available in major ports depending on capacity (Nominal monthly fee applicable for full-time residents)
  • Direct deposit of paycheck biweekly
  • Expense reimbursements paid with payroll on biweekly basis
  • Flexible scheduling and time off request policy
  • Transparent, forthright communication between management, area coordinators, and observers

 Work will begin immediately following training and certification.

Further information can be viewed on our website at www.mragamericas.com

Interested applicants can send resume, cover letter, three (3) professional references, and college transcripts to recruit@mragamericas.com



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