Fishery Observer Programs

Alaska Trawl Vessel Observer programs are an integral part of the sustainable utilization and management of many marine resources. As a result MRAG has engaged in recruiting biologists and placing them in data collection jobs with the fishing industry for several successful programs. MRAG Americas presently operates four observer programs. We have been a certified contractor for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Domestic Groundfish Observer Program and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Shellfish Observer Program since 2005. In 2004, we began working with the Marine Mammal Observer Program in conjunction with the NMFS Protected Resources Division in Alaska. In 2006, MRAG became the exclusive provider of observers for the Longline Tuna and Swordfish Fisheries in Hawaii and American Samoa, this contract has since expired. MRAG also provided observers for small programs in New South Wales Australia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2010, MRAG began providing dockside and at-sea monitors for groundfish sectors in the New England groundfish fishery, as the fishery reorganized in an effort to meet a changing management regime. From 2011-2012, MRAG was contracted by NMFS to provide observers for the West Coast groundfish trawl fishery.

Please visit our Observer Program pages:

Contact for the Northeast Observer Program Manager: 

Danielle Kane at (206)-661-7438;

Working as an Observer

Observer Measuring Fish

Observers work aboard active fishing vessels.  The work can be demanding and requires observers to be self-motivated, able to diplomatically perform duties, collect the required data in often trying situations, all in potentially harsh weather.  An observer must be flexible and creative as conditions, situations, and duties vary from vessel to vessel, and fishery to fishery.

Observer contracts differ with each Fishery Observer Program. Initial contracts are typically for three to four months, though some contracts will run longer in the Alaska Marine Mammal Program.  After the initial contract period, there are typically seasonally dependant shorter periods of work.  Observer opportunities are available primarily from October through April in the Alaska Shellfish fishery; and March through October in the Alaska Groundfish program, through the fishery operates throughout the year.  NE fisheries are active year around; we will provide 3 month to yearly contracts. We are looking for motivated, responsible people interested in working multiple contracts for over a year or more.

MRAG Americas believes in mutual aid and teamwork between management and employees and works hard to support all employees. In the ever-changing world of commercial fisheries management, observers are the front line. Our staff has been involved with Fishery Observer Programs for many years as observers and program coordinators. We deal with our employees in a fair and just manner. MRAG is one of two non-Union contractors in the North Pacific Observer Programs. We are an equal opportunity employer and we offer competitive pay and benefits for qualified employees.

For more information on how to join the MRAG family of observers click here.