Northeast Fishery Observer Positions

MRAG Americas (MRAG) is actively hiring Fisheries Observers to collect data while on-board US domestic commercial fishing vessels.  Training is scheduled to begin in April 2017.

Our Observer positions for upcoming trainings are for Observers who will be based in the Mid-Atlantic area ranging from New York to North Carolina.  The primary focus will be coastal New Jersey. MRAG is accepting competitive applications for an April 2017 NEFOP training.

Training takes place in Falmouth, MA at NOAA/NMFS Fisheries Sampling Branch.

Fishery specific classroom training is followed by at-sea training trips until certification is achieved. Fisheries Observers collect scientific, management, compliance, and other data through observations of fishing operations, interviews of vessel captains and crew, photographing catch, and taking measurements of catch and fishing gear.

The information collected by Observers is used by scientist in many ways.  For instance, it is used to monitor the amount and disposition of catch and bycatch, understand status and trends of fish stocks and protected species, record interactions with protected species, determine the benefits of certain fishing activities, and predict impacts of management actions.

Whiles on-board vessels, Observers may live in cramped quarters that can be in damp conditions while sharing common facilities. Fisheries Observers are based in a primary seaport from which most of their trips will depart.  However, Observers must be willing to travel to depart from other locations when needed. Good communication skills are important for communicating with captains and to setup trips.

Being a Northeast Fisheries Observer is an important job.

Observer responsibilities include:
Communicating with captains and MRAG staff to arrange trips on vessels;
Conducting pre-trip safety inspection;
Communicating Observer duties and data collection needs with vessel crew;
Collecting vessel operational and fishing gear information;
Collecting tow-by-tow data (i.e. depth, water temperature, wave height, vessel location, and time when fishing begins and ends);
Identifying kept and discarded catch data on fishing hauls (species, weight, and disposition);
Calculating weight estimates derived by sub-sampling;
Taking whole specimens, photos, and biological samples (i.e. scales, ear bones, spines from fish, invertebrates, and incidental takes);
Recording information on interactions with protected species, such as sea turtles, porpoise, dolphins, whales, and birds.

The position requires:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences.
A minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in the biological sciences.
At least one undergraduate course in math or statistics.
Experience with computer data entry.
Physical fitness, including the ability to swim 100m, tread water for three (3) minutes, don an immersion suit in less than 60 seconds, climb a ladder, lift and carry 100 pounds correctly.
Off–shore or vessel related experience preferred.
Low susceptibility to and/or a tolerance of motion sickness.
Adept at working in adverse weather conditions.
The ability to live in confined quarters in potentially a high stress environment.
Ability to solicit and arrange trips with vessels independently.
Depending on circumstances, be willing and able to deploy with as little as 4 hours or less notice.
Maintaining current First Aid and Adult CPR certifications.

MRAG provides incentives to our Northeast Observer Program staff.

Incentive/Bonus program to reward good performance and data quality.
Opportunities for advanced training programs based on program status and logistics.
Employee housing in major ports based on capacity (nominal monthly fee applicable for full-time residents).
Direct deposit of biweekly paycheck.
Expense reimbursements paid biweekly.
Flexible scheduling and time off request policy.
Transparent, forthright communication with Observers.

This at-sea work begins immediately following the April training and certification.

Interested applicants can send resume, cover letter, three (3) professional references, and college transcripts to: recruit@mragamericas.com

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