University of Alaska Southeast

Job Posting

Company: AIS
Location: Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea ports
Position: Fisheries Observer
Requirements: See position description

Please see a job description below for 2 observer trainings this December with our Alaska program:

Job Description:

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!

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:

  •  Data quality bonus
  •  Service awards
  • Fitness center reimbursement
  • Referral bonus
  • And more!

Training: Two three-week, paid training courses will begin in December in Seattle, WA. - one begining 12/3/18 and one beginning 12/26/18.  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.


  • Bachelors degree in Biology or other natural science is required including:
    • 30 semester hours of biological coursework
    • at least 1 course that required extensive use of dichotomous keys
    • 5 semester hours of mathematics consisting of at least 1 math course and 1 statistics course
    • You must be US Citizen
    • Previous observer experience and sea and fish research experience is strongly preferred
    • A valid driver’s license is required

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

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • A minimum of 5 professional references (name, email address, and phone number must be included)
  • Latest FMA evaluation (if applicable)
  • Unofficial transcript(s) – please be sure to include additional transcripts for any transferred credits and/or undergrad degree if applicable.  Degree date must also be included on transcript(s) provided.

Closing: Open until filled. Two training classes are scheduled to start in December 2018 (12/3/18 or 12/26/18). Additional trainings may be held at a later date.

More information:

  • VEVRAA Federal Contractor
  • Request Priority Protected Veteran Referrals
  • Equal Opportunity Employer
  • Additional questions regarding the position can be directed to Monet N. Viens, HR Manager at 508-990-9054 or
  • For more information please visit the AIS, Inc. website
Contact: Monet N. Viens
Contact at: 508-990-9054 or
Closing Date: Open until filled (training starts December 2018)