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    Fisheries Observer - Panama City, FL

    AIS Inc
    Panama City, FL 32401
    Full-time, Part-time
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    Job Description

    Job Description

    Want to make a difference?  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 g to fishing programs, economics, catch data, and fishing efficiency.  Collected data is used to document stock information which is then used to protect the environment and preserve future generations of fish/fishermen.  Commit to the journey!

    Panama City, Fl. Laboratory:

    The Panama City Laboratory is responsible for collecting data and samples from several fisheries and projects in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.  These include the Shark Bottom Longline fishery, Bycatch Reduction Evaluations, South Atlantic Deepwater Longline (SADL) fishery, Southeast Gillnet fishery and the Reef Fish Longline fishery.  As an observer you will work aboard commercial vessels processing catch or engaged in studies.   The shark gillnet observer program includes all anchored (sink, stab, set), strike, or drift gillnet fishing by vessels that fish from Florida to North Carolina year-round.   Observers supporting the Panama City Lab gain valuable field experience sampling variety of species. 

    Responsibilities: Work at sea collecting and recording data and biological samples for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFCS) aboard commercial fishing vessels. Observers’ record detailed information on the gear and fishing activity of the vessels.   Observers work on deck on vessels ranging from 30’ to 60’ on trips roughly ranging from 1 to 10 days collecting data on fish catch and discard and incidental takes such as marine mammals, seabirds and marine turtles. The majority of vessels in this program is in the smaller range and goes out for 2-3 days.  Due to COVID 19, part of training will be held remotely with the safety training/sampling being  held at the NOAA facility in Panama City, FL. Upon successful completion of the 2-3 week paid training, certified observers are deployed from ports throughout the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic states.  Applicants must be currently living, or be willing to live, in coastal communities with prolific fishing effort.  This is a challenging job and candidates must be physically 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.

    Compensation:  Observers will be paid an hourly rate starting at $16.27 for Fisheries Observer I and total compensation will vary depending on employee’s availability and fishing effort.  AIS benefits package includes health and dental insurance, vacation, sick and holiday benefits.  Health and welfare compensation at an additional $4.18 per hour is available in lieu of medical benefits (paid separately).

    Potential additional compensation consists of performance incentives, service awards, fitness center reimbursement, referral bonus, monthly sea day accomplishment bonus.  

    Travel is reimbursed at an hourly rate along with compensation for miles accrued on a personal vehicle as well as per diem at the specified Government rate.

    Qualifications:  Observer candidates must have :  a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences and a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in the biological sciences, 2) at least one undergraduate course in math or statistics; and 3) experience with data entry on computers. All relevant course work must have been performed at a level acceptable for credit at the candidate’s academic institution.  Observer candidates must be U.S. citizens, or be legally authorized to work in the U.S.  Candidates must be physically able, as determined by a licensed physician’s certification, to perform observer’s duties.

    Contact: If you would like to apply for one of these exciting new openings, please go to  to submit the required information:  resume, cover letter, at least 5 professional references (name, email address and phone number), and unofficial copies of your college transcripts.  All documents must be submitted in order for your application to be considered.

    Posting ID: 598096764Posted: 2021-01-27