Erika Zollett has an abstract for her accepted manuscript: Safe handling practices to increase post-capture survival of cetaceans, sea turtles, seabirds, sharks, and billfish in tuna fisheries, Endangered Species Research, with Yonat Swimmer.
MRAG Americas is ONE of THREE companies in the continental United States that certifies fisheries against the MSC Standard for Sustainable Fisheries; and provides chain of custody to offer supply chain assurances. When you see that logo – you have confidence that the seafood you’re eating has been managed and fished in a sustainable way and can be traced back to the fishery. Sourcing seafood from a sustainable fishery provides confidence that science and management employ approaches to ensure that the fishery will continue to support livelihoods and maintain healthy fish populations. For more information check out our Seafood Sourcing and Fisheries Certification Divisions.
Our Observer Programs Administrator, Amanda Lees, created a #HurricaneMichael Relief Effort with the help of the broadcasting hosts Paul Fleming and Jason Smith, at FPN Broadcasting, and Captain Anthony Corcella with Pocket Change Inshore Fishing Charters. They are collecting items in several locations throughout Pinellas county and will be delivering everything to the Sheriff’s Department and Fire Group right outside of Panama City Beach on Friday October 19, 2018. FPN Broadcasting will be going live with the efforts throughout the week at several events already planned during the trip to the Panhandle, with the trailer for collections. If you would like to watch the videos, please go to MRAG on Facebook. We will have a full report here next week following the relief effort.
In May 2018, MRAG Americas, Inc. was approved by NOAA Fisheries as a provider company for the IFS program. The industry-funded sea scallop observer program has been an ongoing requirement under the fishery management plan since 2007. This NOAA information informs a variety of research and analyses used to develop and evaluate fishery stock condition, discard rates, and management measures. MRAG Americas began their Atlantic Sea Scallop Observer program in August 2018.
Certified Southeast Fisheries Biologist
MRAG Americas is bidding on the NMFS contract to provide observers for the Southeast Fisheries Science Center Programs (SEFSC) based in Galveston, Texas, Panama City, Florida and Miami, Florida. MRAG Americas is recruiting current/prior fishery observers from the observer programs conducted in the Southeast Region. We will also accept resumes of qualified candidates to train as new observers for the Galveston Program.
Observers are data collectors deployed on commercial fishing vessels anywhere along the Gulf or Atlantic coast. Duties are collecting and recording data on catches and bycatches, gear and conditions. NOAA Fisheries use these data to assess the status of fishery resources, maintain currently productive fisheries, rebuild overfished marine stocks, and reduce bycatch. Observers will deploy from fishing ports along the southeastern coastal areas. Reliable transportation and a current driver’s license are required. Trips vary in length from 1 to 45 days.
Vessels are fishing boats and can at times have limited accommodations. Observers have to be self-sufficient and deal with crews of varying cultures and backgrounds. Observers must be able to work in harsh conditions including cold and hot weather, rough seas and seasickness.
Observers are hired on a contract basis, a minimum of two 90 day contracts is required for new observers due to the considerable expense incurred in training. We need individuals who are committed to working with the program for some time. Current/Prior observers can work on a shorter contract term, since they have already completed training. Observer training will take place in the fall/winter 2018 at the NMFS Galveston Lab, with deployments beginning after training concludes.
Candidates must successfully pass a work physical and a background check. This work is very physical and you must be able to lift 50 lbs on a repetitive basis. Observers must be located in one of the coastal states: TX, LA, MS, AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, to facilitate deployments and to conserve travel costs to the program. Final offers of employment are contingent upon candidates receiving government security clearance.
Specific tasks include:
- Estimating species composition of fish caught, retained and discarded
- Measure selected portions of catch including incidentally caught marine mammals, sea birds and sea turtles
- Biological sampling
- Monitoring of compliance with fishery regulations
- Environmental monitoring
- Collection of information on vessel and gear performance and characteristics
- Collection of information on costs associated with fishing operations
Observers may use interpersonal communication skills to contact fishermen and schedule observer sampling trips, and observe and document compliance with fishery regulations along with MARPOL.
- BS Degree in Biology, Marine Science or related field of study.
- Must reside along the southeastern coastal areas of the United States.
- Knowledge of applying basic concepts, principles and methodologies of fisheries science, sufficient to independently perform scientific tasks using standard methods and techniques.
- Proficient in the use of fish, invertebrate and protected species identification keys.
- Knowledge of southeastern offshore fishery species.
- CPR and First Aid certifications are required before attending training.
- Must have ability to tread water and/or swim in an immersion suit.
- Computer literate and experienced with common word processing.
- Must be able-bodied for at-sea duty and successfully pass a physical exam.
- Have ability to work long and irregular hours.
- Ability to operate personally owned vehicles and sampling equipment.
- Ability to pass a background check.
Preference will be given to previous Fisheries Observer experience.
MRAG Americas submitted a bid in early September and expect an award in late November or early December, with work beginning in 2019. If you are interested in consideration for future classes, please send a cover letter indicating your availability and background. We also need a resume, copy of college transcripts, and three professional references to complete your hiring packet. Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update candidates as we gain more information on future training dates.
MRAG Americas is an Equal Opportunity Employer offering very competitive compensation and exceptional employee benefits.
MRAG Americas contributed to the development of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Generic Essential Fish Habitat Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans for the U.S. Caribbean in 2004. With this and other legal documents, in 2005 the CFMC completed the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to describe and identify essential fish habitat (EFH), minimize adverse effects of fishing, and identify actions to conserve and enhance EFH. The EFH regulation states that the Fishery Management Councils and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) should periodically review the EFH provisions of FMPs and revise or amend those provisions as warranted, and a complete review of all EFH information should be conducted at least once every 5 years. The CFMC contracted MRAG Americas to conduct the first 5-year review, which was completed in 2011. Since then, a wealth of new information on EFH has been produced; updated EFH maps have been developed for the US Caribbean; Island Based Fishery Management Plans for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix have been developed, with new species being considered for federal management; and the CFMC has proposed the development of a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP).
Once again, MRAG Americas has been selected to conduct the second EFH review for the CFMC, with the following objectives: (1) improve habitat association tables, by species and life stage for federally managed fish and invertebrate species; (2) update the current spatial depictions of EFH; and (3) contribute to the development of a web-based database and mapping application to improve access and ease of use of EFH information at various life stages for better informed stock assessments and fishery management and the development of island-based FEPs. Ultimately, this web-based tool would be accessible to the public and utilized as the framework for identifying and describing EFH. The review will provide the detailed information necessary for the development of the tool and addition to GIS map viewer, but will not develop the actual tool as a deliverable. The 5-year review will be conducted through the end of 2018, with Dr. Valle-Esquivel leading the work, and Dr. Zollett and expert consultant Dr. Garcia-Saez as team members.
Members of the Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares Project (catchshareindicators.org) will host a Symposium at this year’s Annual Fisheries Society conference in Atlantic City. The symposium, scheduled for Monday afternoon, August 20, will explore the design of the project and its approach to inform decision making. Presenters will draw on discipline-specific analyses, challenges and results, with specific attention to interdisciplinary stories and lessons learned from these fisheries and program design aspects that can be applied elsewhere.
MRAG Americas contracted by the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council to conduct required 5-Year Review of Essential Fish Habitat in the US Caribbean. MRAG will be working closely with Council staff to update, describe and identify and map essential fish habitat (EFH), which is critical for fisheries management to minimize adverse effects of fishing, and identify actions to conserve and enhance EFH.
Certified Northeast At-Sea Monitors
MRAG Americas is seeking currently certified At-Sea Monitors. A sign on bonus of $1,000.00 will be paid to successful hires upon completion of 6 months employment with MRAG averaging a minimum of 12 days per month.
Full time or Part-time work available with day and multiday trip assignments ranging from 1-12 days in duration. Work includes at-sea deployments on vessels from ports in the Northeast. Majority of workload is located out of Portland, ME, Gloucester, MA and Boston, MA. Additional work available out of other Maine ports and Point Judith, Rhode Island.
Workload and Compensation
Full time employment available based on minimum of 12 sea days per month. Fisheries observers are allocated to a primary port to deploy from the majority of their trips; however, willingness to travel to cover locations other than their primary ports is necessary.
Observer pay is commensurate with experience, starting at $203/seaday, with raises based on seadays completed. MRAG applies seadays in NEFOP, IFS, and ASM from the Northeast, as well as Hawaii Longline, North Pacific Groundfish, Alaska Shellfish and MM Observer seadays towards experience grades. Observers may be eligible for additional land hours to include travel and debriefing. An additional $3.00 per day deployed is paid to the observer to cover phone costs and $25.00 for each day trip is added on top of observers’ seaday rate to cover the meal cost. MRAG provides a comprehensive benefits package that includes holiday pay, monthly bonus opportunities, company paid employee medical coverage, vacation (after one year with MRAG) Additional coverage, including critical care, vision and dental coverage, are available at reasonable rates.
For consideration as an ASM with MRAG, please submit a cover letter detailing your experience relating to ASM work, a copy of your resume and contact information for three (3) professional references. Email all application documents to email@example.com
MRAG Americas is starting a new project with the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) the RFMO responsible for ensuring the long term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the north west Atlantic. This work will result in a fully documented description of all methodologies being used for estimating tow catches by vessel skippers, NAFO compliance Observers, Scientific Observers and NAFO At-Sea Inspectors, together with the development of common best practices. We are very excited to be working with NAFO on this important project. We’ll be collaborating on this with our sister companies MRAG Ltd and MRAG Asia Pacific.