At-Sea Fishery Observer & Field Technician


Job Title:

At-Sea Fishery Observer


Commercial Salmon At-Sea Observer Program

Job Description:

Designated at-sea fishery observers are required for the 2022 commercial salmon season to monitor and verify catch encounters aboard fishing vessels. At-sea observers provide accurate, timely, and independent third party verification of commercial catch encounters.

The At-Sea Observers will:

  • Work aboard fishing vessels
  • Communicate with fisherman and industry representatives
  • Identify all Pacific Salmon species
  • Observe fishing sets and record catch encounters
  • Calculate piece counts
  • Report catch results
  • Report occurrences
  • Collect biological samples

Terms of Employment:
  • Seasonal
  • Available for weekday, weekend, day and evening shifts
  • Must be available throughout the duration of the fishery
  • Have your own transportation to get to and from point of embarkation

  • Starting at $250.00/day with opportunities for advancement
  • Travel and Living expenses provided for out of town field work

Training and Examination:
  • Mandatory training and examination will be provided by J.O. Thomas and Associates

Work Period:
  • Mid-August through September

Embark from Metro Vancouver, Port Renfrew, Campbell River, Port McNeill, or Port Hardy.


  • MED A1, A2 or A3 (Marine Emergency Duties) certification.
  • ROC-M Radio Operators Certification-Marine an asset.
  • First aid OFA Level 1 an asset.
  • Be physically fit and able to meet the physical requirements of the job including but not limited to climbing ladders and boarding fishing vessels.
  • You must provide proof of full vaccination and obtain all eligible vaccines against COVID-19. JO Thomas COVID-19 procedures will be reviewed with successful candidates during training.

DFO Designation Requirements:
  • Legally eligible to work in Canada.
  • Evidence of a Criminal Record Check is required.
  • Successfully complete a DFO-approved Dockside Observer training program with a pass mark of 75% in each module.
  • Have no significant financial interest in a commercial fishing business that harvests, processes, or sells commercial fishery products.

High school graduation or equivalent knowledge base is required.
A degree, diploma, or technical training in areas of natural resource management, biology, zoology, environmental science, aquaculture, conservation management, etc. is preferred, but not limiting.


  • Valid DFO Dockside Observer Designation is an asset.

Required Duties and Skills:

  • Identify Pacific Salmon species.
  • Collect biological data effectively and efficiently.
  • Safely work aboard active fishing vessels in a fast paced and dynamic environment.
  • Communicate with fishery managers, fisheries officers, industry representatives, vessel crew and fish plant workers. -
  • Observe and report work procedures.
  • Record data/results and occurrences.

Additional Assets:
  • Not prone to seasickness.
  • Flexible and responsive to change.
  • Work and think independently in a fast-paced environment.
  • Report results efficiently and promptly.
  • Respond positively to changing and late notice schedules.
  • Comfortable working around docks and vessels.
  • An Android compatible phone is an asset.

Work Conditions and Physical Capabilities:
Workplace awareness is essential as at-sea observations take place aboard active fishing vessels and in industrial environments. Fishing operations can be fast-paced, loud, wet, and highly active with industrial machinery such as water pumps, and hydraulic cable lifts used during fishing activities in various weather conditions. Long work hours can be expected. Transport of sampling equipment and/or biological samples to and from offload sites may be required. Physical requirements may also include but are not limited to ascending/descending ladders, boarding fishing vessels, and working with loads between 20lbs to 40lbs.


To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume via email to Sylvia Chow, Program Coordinator, and Rachel Lee, Program Coordinator, Shortlisted candidates will be notified.