Skip to main content

Fisheries Observer

Saltwater Inc.
Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time
Location Detail:
Dutch Harbor
Job Description:

Saltwater Inc. is currently hiring Fisheries Observers for the Alaska Groundfish Program.

Alaska groundfish observers gather data onboard commercial fishing boats working out of ports along the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Most of the assignments are based out of Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, King Cove, or Akutan, Alaska.

Groundfish observers collect biological data while living aboard commercial fishing vessels working in the North Pacific Ocean and eastern Bering Sea.

Observers work on boats that range in size from 60-foot longliners to 600-foot processing factories. Working conditions on fishing boats vary widely but all are almost always challenging in Alaska, where cold, wet weather is the norm. Biologists typically work out on an open deck, often for hours at a time, or for long periods of time in factories.

Observers must be flexible and resourceful in establishing a sampling station and sampling methods, and capable of heavy lifting. Sampling and paperwork often require observers to work long and odd hours, seven days a week. Shifts range from 4 - 12 hours daily, and it’s rare to sleep uninterrupted for eight hours. Salary above is monthly.

Observer contracts are typically for 90 days and can be renewed indefinitely. We encourage — and reward — repeat contracts.



General Requirements

Bachelor’s degree in one of the natural sciences.

30 credit hours in applied biology.

Minimum of one college level math and one statistics course.

College course using dichotomous (taxonomic) keys.

Background check and/or Criminal Disclosure Statement.

Recent Physical exam.

No direct financial interest in the fisheries.

Successful completion of appropriate training course.

Physically able to carry out observer duties.

Not prone to chronic or debilitating seasickness.


Preferred Qualifications

Previous experience as an observer

Previous experience in scientific data collection and data entry beyond college.

Previous ocean experience aboard boats.

Valid and current passport.



To be eligible to work as an observer, candidates must attend and pass an intensive 3-week class by NOAA Fisheries.