Work at sea collecting and recording data and biological samples for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) aboard commercial fishing vessels. Observers work on the decks of vessels ranging from 40’ to 100’ and on trips ranging from 1 to 14 days collecting data on fish catch, discard, and incidental takes such as marine mammals, seabirds, and marine turtles. Positions are located in various ports from North Carolina to Maine.
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. A broad range of advancement opportunities is available to those who demonstrate appropriate work skills. Those opportunities include, but are not limited to, project management, field supervisors, and fieldwork in other programs such as protected species observing and research.