The Alaska Fisheries Science Center website is now part of the NOAA Fisheries website.
Some information may not be up to date. Join us at our new location,
Please contact with any questions.

link to AFSC home page
Mobile users can use the Site Map to access the principal pages

link to AFSC home page link to NMFS home page link to NOAA home page

Becoming an FMA Observer for the first time

All PDF files on this site can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader software or free tools for the visually disabled.

photo of fishery observer on longline vessel

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 Chris Rilling.



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