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The objective of the Canadian Government’s At-Sea Observer Program is to provide accurate, timely, and independent third-party verification of harvesting activities at sea, as well as to provide scientific catch and sampling data to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The program is delivered jointly by the Science and Conservation & Protection branches of DFO.


Is a Job as an At-sea Fisheries Observer Right for you?

The role of the At-Sea Observer within the program is to Observe, Document and Report.

Observer Duties:

  • Record information on fishing effort and location

  • Estimate and record the catch weight

  • Sample catches to determine species composition

  • Collect biological data (length measurements & sex ratios)

  • Collect fish and samples for return to shore

  • Verify fishing gear measurements and configuration

  • Monitor fishing activity for compliance to regulations

  • Record incidentally captured marine mammals, turtles & seabirds

  • Keep a detailed record of vessel activities

  • Report on vessel transshipments, off-loading and loss of polluting materials into the ocean

  • Report on adherence to Canadian laws and international treaties and
    agreements (France, NAFO, EEC)

  • Provide testimony in court

Observer Qualifications:

Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be considered for the position:


Mandatory Qualifications

  • Successful completion of Grade 12 or equivalent

  • Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status

  • Have a Certificate of Conduct and agree to make it available to DFO if required 

  • Possess or be willing to obtain Domestic Vessel Safety (MED DVS) Training

  • Mature, responsible and capable of working independently

  • Good health and physical condition

  • Ability to interact with others in a professional manner

  • Mobility and availability

  • Responsive and reliable on short notice

  • Not prone to motion sickness (seasickness)

  • Ability to complete technical written reports and complete data forms


Desirable Qualifications 

  • Bilingual - proficiency in both English and French

  • Experience with the commercial fishing industry

  • Sea experience

  • Experience collecting field data 

Observer Training

Seawatch Inc. provides At-Sea Observer Training that meets CGSB 130.1 standards.
Training is four weeks in duration and is provided at Seawatch headquarters in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Some of the topics included are as follows:

  • Navigation

  • Fishing vessels & gear

  • Fish species identification

  • Catch estimation

  • Sampling & data collection techniques

  • Radio communications

  • Fisheries regulations

  • Observer safety


To Apply

Interested in working as an At-Sea Fishery Observer with Seawatch Inc.?
Please submit a resume by:


Fax:     709 754 9530 or

Mail:    Seawatch Inc.

           10 Austin Street, Suite 102

            St. John’s, NL

            A1B 4C2

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