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Fishery Observer I

IAP Worldwide Services, Inc

Galveston ,  Texas

Observers perform contract work for the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) at various laboratories in the Southeast participating in various programs. Observers will be deployed from fishing ports along the Gulf of Mexico and the East coast.

FISHERY OBSERVER (Occupational Base) - SCA Directory
The Fishery Observer is responsible to observe and document fishery catch composition and disposition, including takes of protected species (marine mammals, sea birds, sea turtles) and fishery discards. Duties may also include the following: biological sampling, monitoring of compliance with fishery regulations, environmental monitoring, collection of information on vessel and gear performance and characteristics, and collection of information on costs associated with fishing operations.

Essential Job Functions

The Fishery Observer I performs routine tasks associated with recurring and continuing work according to prescribed or established procedural standards and technical methods assigned, assures that tasks are completed, data developed, methods used in securing and verifying data are technically accurate and in compliance with instructions and established procedures. This worker makes estimates of amounts and species composition of fish caught, retained and discarded, using at a minimum, simple, single stage sampling techniques and dichotomous keys, and collects biological samples from the catch of various fisheries according to detailed procedures. According to established standards and detailed procedures, this observer records data on appropriate forms and logs, some of which may be electronic, maintains field equipment and supplies, collects scientific, management, compliance information, and make observations of fishing operations. This worker measures selected portions of catch including incidentally caught marine mammals, sea birds and sea turtles. This incumbent may tag species of interest including sharks, tunas, sablefish, spiny lobsters, swordfish and sea turtles, and uses calculator and or PC for calculations and recording data. The Fishery Observer I obtains, enters and transfers data electronically, obtains and records information on electronic equipment, socio-economics and gear characteristics of fishing gear types while working either on board vessels, on alternative platform, or at a shore-based facility. This observer may use interpersonal communication skills to contact fishermen and schedule observer sampling trips, observe and document compliance with fishery regulations and may write affidavits.

Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science or related field of study.

License and Certifications

  • CPR and First Aid Certifications are required.
  • Valid Driver's License.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Proficient with use of dichotomous keys for species identification.
  • Proficient in the use of fish, invertebrate and protected species identification books.
  • Substantial understanding of general aspects of the job with broad understanding of the detailed aspects of the job. New observers must complete an intensive new hire training to qualify.
  • Work can be performed on a variety of vessels including small boats without facilities such as rest rooms or bunks; commercial fishing vessels with a minimum (sometimes crude) facilities in less than optimal weather.
  • Ability to work and interact with a wide variety of cultures of crew on vessels is a must.
  • Ability to lift (45 lbs for women, 60 lbs for men) on a repetitive basis

Physical Demands/Working Environment:
See WorkFit or physical Demands Job Analysis


  • 100%. Travel to and from port of embarkation/debarkation shall be via the Observer’s privately owned vehicle for the most part. Reliable transportation which must be insured and insurance coverage must meet the minimum requirements for the state in which the automobile is registered. 
  • For logistical reasons observers are required to home base out of one of the southern states (TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC or NC)

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