Login Register
Home » Jobs » West Coast Observer Jobs

Saltwater Inc.

  • 2032 Southeast Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR

Contact the employer

Make sure to include valid contact details when reaching out to an employer.

Email Me Jobs Like These

Create a job alert now and get notified when new jobs are posted.

Alert Frequency

Apply by Feb 07, 2022

West Coast Observer Jobs

What We Believe

Do work that matters.

We believe that our mission – to collect and provide high-quality information – is vital to the health of our oceans and fisheries.

Think big. Start small. Do it now.

To make a difference, we need to think big. Then start small – experimenting, investigating, testing. And do it now. That’s how things get done.

Be Creative. And be practical.

We strive to find new, better, more efficient ways to get things done. And while it’s sometimes tempting to go for the flashy approach, we always try to let practical lead.

Try harder.

For us, there is no “good enough.” Our clients and observers depend on us to be there 24/7 to solve problems and provide the highest quality information in the most efficient way possible.

Learn from everyone.

We get to work with all kinds of people – fishermen, observers, research scientists, data analysts, software developers, fishery managers, marine technicians, and accountants. We’ve learned that they all have important knowledge and ideas to share.

Work should be challenging, meaningful, and fun.

Our work is full of big challenges and interesting people. We love what we do and the people we work with. The combination makes our work rewarding and enjoyable.


min experience

salary range

$35k - $45k / year

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Observers in the West Coast program work aboard commercial fishing boats collecting biological data on target and bycatch. They monitor marine mammal and sea bird interactions with fishing gear and, check vessel deliveries to verify species identification and weights. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) uses this information to set fishing quotas and monitor the health of fish stocks.

Boats in the West Coast fleet range in size from 18-foot longliners to over 70-foot trawlers. Working conditions vary widely and some vessels may not have bathrooms or showers.

Observers must be flexible, resourceful, able to work long hours, and strong enough to do some heavy lifting (up to 80 pounds). The workday is determined by the vessel’s fishing schedule and NMFS sampling protocols, and can range from 5-15 hours a day. Trips last from 1 to 5 days and multiple back-to-back deployments are common.  As with all our observer jobs, we encourage — and reward — repeat contracts.

When not onboard vessels, observers live in selected ports along the West Coast of the United States, from Washington to California. Assignments may be based out of port towns such as:

  • Bellingham, WA
  • Westport, WA
  • Astoria, OR
  • Newport, OR
  • Coos Bay, OR
  • Brookings, OR
  • Crescent City, CA
  • Eureka, CA
  • Fort Bragg, CA
  • San Francisco CA

Observer Duties

  • Provide independent catch estimates of target species and bycatch.
  • Sample species composition.
  • Provide fish ID and measurements.
  • Collect biological samples.
  • Monitor marine mammal and bird interactions.
  • Document fishing activity (set times, positions, gear performance, etc.).
  • Record and report all data to NMFS.
  • Comply with all regulatory requirements.
  • Carry out assigned special projects.


Observer training is an intensive 3.5-week course offered by NMFS at various times throughout the year in Newport, OR. Candidates must pass this training to be eligible for a contract with Saltwater.

Minimum Requirements

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelors of Science in a biological science or limnology; or
  • Valid NMFS certification; or
  • Prior experience as a fisheries observer approved by ADF&G.
  • One statistics course and one math course.
  • College course using dichotomous (taxonomic) keys.
  • A CPR and First Aid certification.

Related Jobs

all about us

About Adventure Job Board

We have worked and lived in some of the best places on earth. The experiences that come with seasonal and full time work in adventurous settings are life changing to say the least. We built this job board to share those opportunities with passionate job seekers while connecting employers to the best possible candidates.

More about us

Give us a shoutout

Contact Us

Have a question about a job or a place? Need a little extra encouragement? Know of a great place that we haven’t discovered yet? Send us an email, tag us with #AdventureJobBoard on Social, or release the courier pigeons. Contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Contact us now

You’ve got email

Newsletter Signup

Please sign up here to receive a newsletter listing all our latest jobs, offers and updates.

    communitY dedicated to jobs in great places

    Fueled by a passion to help people redefine how they see their careers

    © 2016 - 2022 Adventure Job Bord - All rights reserved.