Becoming an FMA Observer for the first time
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Observer candidates are recruited and hired by independent FMA-permitted
observer provider companies. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree
in fisheries, wildlife biology, or a related field of biology or natural
resource management. Observers must be capable of performing strenuous physical
labor, and working independently without direct supervision under stressful
conditions. For a complete list of candidate requirements, see FMA observer
qualifications. Another good source of information is our "What is a North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer?" brochure.
If you are hired, your observer provider will sponsor you to attend a 3-week observer training course to prepare you for the position. You will also be given a current
Observer Sampling Manual. On the first day of class, you will be tested on the
pre-class reading material.
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be certified as a groundfish observer.
The FMA Division conducts training and briefing (refresher training for experienced observers) in Seattle, at the Alaska Fisheries Science
Center, and through the North Pacific Fisheries Observer Training Center at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Training class dates are posted quarterly and changes are posted as they occur. Training and briefing requirements and expiration rules have remained constant since the last update on March 1, 2005.
If you are interested in how Observer-collected data are used, check out our data spatial maps and this link to information about our database.
If you have any questions, please contact
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