Certified Southeast Fisheries Biologist

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 recruit@mragamericas.com. 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.