This program provides observer coverage to vessels operating outside of the Trawl Catch Share fishery on the West Coast. The vessels operating in the West Coast Groundfish fishery range in size from 20 feet to approximately 75 feet. Observers will work on a variety of gear types, including longline, pot, and shrimp trawl. Trips will generally be one to five days in length. Observers can expect to be sampling at sea approximately 12 to 20 days per month, gathering fishing effort and location information, sampling for species composition, and collecting biological data from both prohibited and target species. While living and working in their home-port, Observers live on-call, ready to provide coverage at short notice. Observers can also expect to work on shoreside tasks which will include making dock rounds, entering and editing data, debriefing, performing safety reviews, and contacting vessels to be observed.
Location of Work:
Following a three week training in Newport Oregon, observers will be required to relocate to a home port in Washington, Oregon, or California for the duration of their contracts. Ports available for assignment include Neah Bay, WA; Astoria, Newport, Coos Bay, Brookings, and Port Orford, OR; and Crescent City, Eureka, Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg, Monterey, Halfmoon Bay, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara, CA.
West Coast Groundfish Observer positions are seasonal, 7 month contracts that begin in March and end approximately October 31st of each year.
Compensation and Benefits:
The compensation package is a combination of a base salary, which observers receive regardless of how many days in a month they are deployed to vessels, plus additional pay for at-sea days (observers are paid for a minimum of 12 deployed days each month).
All Washington and Oregon ports and south to Eureka, CA:
Base salary = $2829 per month;
Total compensation (based on a minimum of 12 deployed days per month) = $4001 per month.
Fort Bragg south to Monterey, CA:
Base salary = $3433 per month;
Total compensation (based on a minimum of 12 deployed days per month) = $4854 per month
Morro Bay, CA and south to LA, CA:
Base salary = $3215 per month;
Total compensation (based on a minimum of 12 deployed days per month) = $4547 per month.
Health insurance is also offered. Observers receive up to $350.00 for relocation expenses, are reimbursed for meal expenses incurred during travel to and from deployments outside their home ports, and are compensated for mileage driven during deployment-related travel outside their home ports (observers must provide their own automobiles). Observers can also participate in AOI’s 401-k plan after working for 4-months.
The National Marine Fisheries Service provides observers with survival suits, life-vests, and hard hats, along with all sampling equipment.