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SEFOP Fisheries Observer

Want to make a difference? Commercial fishing dates back hundreds of years. Today commercial fishing continues to be possible due to cooperation between fishermen and fisheries management scientists.  In order to facilitate that cooperation, fisheries observers collect data pertaining g to fishing programs, economics, catch data, and fishing efficiency. Collected data is used to document stock information which is then used to protect the environment and preserve future generations of fish/fishermen. Commit to the journey!
A.I.S., Inc. was recently awarded the contract to provide observer support services for the Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Observer Program.  In anticipation of upcoming trainings, dates to be determined, A.I.S, Inc. is accepting applications.
There are several programs in the Southeast Fisheries Observer Program with current openings. Get involved with what interests you the most.
 Panama City, Fl. Laboratory:
Shark Bottom Longline, Bycatch Reduction Evaluations, Southeast Gillnet and Reef Fish Longline. You will work aboard commercial vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. Upon departure on a vessel, observers may be required to remain at sea for up to twenty-one (21) days per fishing trip. The shark gillnet observer program now covers all anchored (sink, stab, set), strike, or drift gillnet fishing by vessels that fish from Florida to North Carolina year-round.
Miami, FL. Laboratory:
The Pelagic Observer Program (POP) at the Miami Laboratory began in May of 1992. The POP, with a corps of 15-20 observers, monitors a mobile U.S. pelagic longline fleet ranging from the Grand Banks to off Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico. Vessels range in size from 35 feet to 90 feet and trips typically last 2- 45 days. During an average year, the observer corps will spend about 900 days at sea based on 70-75 vessel trips, and observe about 500 longline sets. The distance of a longline set can range from 10 to 40 miles fishing from 200 to 1000 baited hooks about 100 meters apart.
 The POP also provides observers for experimental fishing effort in which pelagic longline gear is modified in some way; and the POP participates in special projects by training and providing observers involving HMS fishing with gear other than pelagic longline, including but not limited to purse seine, tuna green stick, swordfish and tuna buoy gear, and swordfish rod and reel.
Galveston, TX. Laboratory:
Platform Removal Observers: The Galveston Laboratory supports an observer program designed to minimize the impacts to sea turtles and marine mammals of underwater explosives used during the removal of offshore oil and gas platforms. Observers conduct surface and aerial surveys prior to detonation of explosives to detect the presence of marine protected species within a predetermined impact zone around the detonation site. Observers perform visual monitoring for sea turtles and marine mammals at explosive removal of oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico primarily off Louisiana and Texas. Observations are made from vessels, barges, oil platforms, and small aircraft, primarily helicopters. Record keeping, trip report preparation, data collection, data entry and data proofing are also required. Duration of offshore trips averages approximately 3-7 days. Much longer trips may occur. Approximately 95% of work is offshore where observer lives aboard vessels, barges, and platforms. Travel by car, boat, plane, and helicopter is required.
Reef Fish & Shrimp Trawl Fisheries Observers: The primary goals of the shrimp and reef fish observer programs are to provide quantitative biological, vessel, and gear-selectivity information for the southeastern shrimp fishery and Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery. The observer will operate on commercial shrimp and reef fish vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. Seasonal categories are: January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December. Gear types assessed included, but limited to, bottom longline, modified buoy gear, bandit reel, and handline.
Learn More About Becoming a Fisheries Observer
Responsibilities: Work at sea collecting and recording data and biological samples for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFCS) aboard commercial fishing vessels. Observers’ record detailed information on the gear and fishing activity of the vessels.  Observers work on deck on vessels ranging from 30’ to 90’ on trips roughly ranging from 1 to 45 days collecting data on fish catch and discard and incidental takes such as marine mammals, seabirds and marine turtles. After attending a 2-3 week paid training course in Galveston, TX, Miami, FL or Panama City, FL, observers are deployed from ports throughout the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic states. Applicants must be currently living, or be willing to live, in coastal communities with prolific fishing effort. This is a challenging job and candidates must be physically able to handle heavy lifting, working odd hours and long days in rough seas. Observing provides an excellent start to a career in marine biology, as observers are widely recognized as being excellent field biologists.
Compensation: Observers will be paid an hourly rate starting at $16.27 for Fisheries Observer I and total compensation will vary depending on employee’s availability and fishing effort. AIS benefits package includes health and dental insurance, vacation, sick and holiday benefits. Health and welfare compensation at an additional $4.48 per hour is available in lieu of medical benefits.
Potential additional compensation consists of performance incentives, service awards, fitness center reimbursement, referral bonus, monthly sea day accomplishment bonus.  
Travel is reimbursed at an hourly rate along with compensation for miles accrued on a personal vehicle as well as per diem at the specified Government rate.
Qualifications: Observer candidates must have : ) a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences and a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in the biological sciences, 2) at least one undergraduate course in math or statistics; and 3) experience with data entry on computers. All relevant course work must have been performed at a level acceptable for credit at the candidate’s academic institution. Observer candidates must be U.S. citizens, or be legally authorized to work in the U.S. Candidates must be physically able, as determined by a licensed physician’s certification to perform observer duties.
Contact: Click Apply Now in Handshake to submit the required information: resume, cover letter, at least 5 professional references (name, email address and phone number), and unofficial copies of your college transcripts. All documents must be submitted in order for your application to be considered.
An Equal Opportunity Employer
It is the policy of A.I.S. to recruit, hire, train, promote, transfer and compensate our employees and provide all other conditions of employment including Company sponsored events without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, lawful alien status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, citizenship status, veteran status or any other status protected by applicable law.
Must be able to work in the U.S. • VEVRAA Federal Contractor • Request Priority Protected Veteran Referrals • Equal Opportunity Employer