Fisheries Biologist: North Pacific Groundfish Observer Alaska

Department: Fisheries Observing
Location: Anchorage, AK

Want to make a difference? Want to get paid to explore Alaska?  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 to fishing operations, economics, catch data, and fishing effort. Collected data is used to document fish stock information which is then used for fisheries management and to preserve future generations of fish/fishermen. Commit to the journey!

Click to Learn More about Becoming a Fisheries Observer in Alaska!

Agency/Location: AIS, Inc (contractor to NMFS). Positions located in ports along the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

Responsibilities: Work at sea collecting and recording fish catch/discard and biological samples for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) aboard commercial fishing vessels.  Observers record detailed information on the gear and fishing activity of the vessels. Vessels range from 40 – 125 ft. and trips can last from 2 – 14 days. After attending a 3 week paid training course in Seattle, WA, observers are deployed from ports throughout the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska.

This is a physically and mentally challenging job and candidates must be 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. This opportunity is a great way to get paid to explore Alaska.  A broad range of advancement opportunities are 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.

Compensation: These are full–time positions for up to 90 day deployments to Alaska.  Each 90 day deployment may be followed by a period of time off.  Many observers use their downtime to travel and recuperate before returning to complete another deployment.  Observers typically complete 1-4 deployments a year.  The amount of time spent on vessels during a deployment depends on weather and the fishing effort.   When deployed to Alaska observers earn between $3,500 and $6,500 a month and receive additional compensation for meals and incidental expenses as well as reimbursement for ground transportation and baggage.  AIS managers make all travel arrangements and pay for all flights and lodging.  

The AIS benefits package includes health and dental insurance, vacation, sick, and holiday benefits. Additional Health and Welfare compensation is available in lieu of medical benefits. 

Potential additional compensation may consist of:

Training: A three-week, paid training course starts August 6 in Seattle, WA.  Accommodations at a furnished comfortable house in Seattle are provided.  Transportation to and from the NMFS training facility is also provided.   Training includes instructions on sampling protocols, gear, fisheries, fish identification, marine mammal/sea turtle identification, and safety.


Contact: If you would like to apply, please click the following link submit the required information. All of the following documents must be submitted in order for your application to be considered:

Closing: Open until filled. One training class is scheduled to start on August 6th, 2018. Additional trainings may be held at a later date.

More information: