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.


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 2  week paid remote training course, and a 1 week safety training 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 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. Health and welfare compensation of an additional $4.27 per hour 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: A two-week, paid remote training course is expected to begin July 13th or 20th. You will then attend a one-week safety training in Seattle, WA.  Accommodations at a furnished comfortable house in Seattle are provided during your safety portion.  Transportation to and from the NMFS training facility is also provided.   The remote training includes instructions on sampling protocols, gear, fisheries, fish identification, and marine mammal/sea turtle identification.


-Bachelors degree in Biology or other natural science is required including:<ul “list-style-type:=”” circle”=””>
-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

Tagged as: commercial fishing, field biologist, fisheries, fisheries management, fisheries scientist, offshore

Before applying for this position you need to submit your online resume. Click the button below to continue.

About A.I.S. Inc.

With more than three decades of experience supporting government, the private sector and academia, AIS has evolved into a diversified provider of marine science services.  Our accomplishments are based on our ability to mobilize and support a highly qualified and geographically dispersed workforce of professionals, our commitment to customer service, and our innovative management approaches.