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Marine Fisheries Biologist- At-Sea Observer

Fathom Resources
Portland, Maine, US
Closing date
Nov 28, 2021

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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NEED A CHALLENGING, BUT REWARDING CAREER? Not for the faint of heart that's sure!

Fathom Resources may just have the job for you, if you're up for it!

Fathom's Research Department Specializes in:

Marine and fisheries Data collection services, for use by scientists and industry members for the management of commercial fisheries and marine environments. Department staff include fisheries biologists, marine mammal experts and professional observers. Fathom is an approved provider for:
  • Fisheries Observer services for Groundfish, Atlantic Sea Scallop and Atlantic Herring fishery programs.
  • Marine Mammal/Protected Species/Endangered Species Biologist Observers for construction and dredging projects

Observers deploy on vessels ranging from 30' to 100', operating in ocean waters 3-200 miles offshore in all weather conditions. Day trips are typically 12 to 40 hours and multiday trips range from 5 to 14 days long. Trips require observers to live in cramped quarters in close proximity to vessel crew while at sea. Observers are directed by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Fisheries Sampling Branch located in Falmouth, MA. Observers are responsible for the accurate recording and collection of:
  • Vessel and trip statistics
  • Port departure and landing times,
  • Trip economic costs
  • Fishing gear characteristics
  • Haul information (location, target species)
  • Catch (species composition, weight, disposition reason, discard information…)
  • Biological samples (length frequency, otoliths, scales, vertebrae)
  • Protected species information and specialized sampling


Fathom is currently hiring marine fisheries biologists for At-sea work in the Groundfish Observer Program throughout the Northeast coastal region. Approved candidates will attend a paid National Marine Fisheries Services led training. Training is planned to be fully in-person taking place in Falmouth, MA. In person training includes lodging at no cost to trainee and paid meal per diem for the duration of training.

The training dates are:

February 2022

TBD additional 2022 training dates

Marine Fisheries Biologist Requirements specific to Observing:

Candidates must possess:
  • A good attitude with the desire to get your hands dirty;
  • Bachelor's degree with a major in one of the biological sciences from an accredited four-year college or university;
  • At least 30 semester hours in any combination of scientific or technical courses such as biology, chemistry, statistics entomology, animal husbandry, physics or mathematics, of which at least six (6) semester hours are in marine science or fisheries.
  • One year of specialized experience, performed at an acceptable level, may be substituted for the six semester hours of marine science or fisheries course work. The specialized experience must have been in the field of fisheries and included functions such as: a. observing ocean fishing activities; b. recording data for marine mammal sighting and fishing activities; c. tallying incidental takes of marine mammals, sea turtles and sea birds on fishing vessels; or d. collecting biological specimens from postmortem animals. The education requirement may be waived, on an individual basis, with approval by NMFS;
  • CPR certification by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association;
  • Basic First Aid;
  • Candidates must not have been terminated or decertified as an observer, due to problems with data quality or standards of conduct, in any other NMFS observer program;
  • Be certified to be physically fit to work as an observer including:
  • Ability to swim 50 yards
  • Tread water for 3 minutes
  • Don a survival suit in 60 seconds or less
  • Climb a ladder
  • Lift 50+ lbs. and drag 200 lbs.
  • Ability to live in confined quarters
  • Not susceptible to chronic or debilitating motion sickness
  • Be able to tolerate stress
  • Be able to appreciate the unusual ‘office' view
  • Must be willing to travel, which mean you'll need a valid driver's license and reliable personal transportation
  • Must be able to work independently
  • Must be willing to sign a contract for no less than 12 months

Highly Desired Qualifications
  • Sea and research experience
  • Experience with data entry on computers


Candidates must be a U.S. citizen, or a non-citizen who has legally resided in the United States continuously for at least the past 2 years.

Interested applicants should provide:
  • Cover letter (specific to sea experience, field work, species identification, and/or research projects);
  • Resume
  • Three (3) professional references;
  • Unofficial college transcripts.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $300.00 - $330.00 per day

  • Dental insurance
  • Health insurance

  • Day shift
  • Night shift
  • Weekend availability

Supplemental Pay:
  • Bonus pay

Work Location:
  • Multiple locations

Work Remotely:
  • No

Work Location: Multiple Locations
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