Job Opportunity: At-Sea Biologist at Saltwater Inc

Saltwater Inc is recruiting a qualified at-sea biologist to work as a survey support person on a federal contract. This position is seasonal, located in Newport, OR, mainly at-sea and set to begin June 2021.

The biologist will work with Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Fisheries Engineering & Acoustic Technologies Team (FEAT) to maintain hake survey equipment before, during, and after the Integrated Ecosystem & Pacific Hake Acoustic-Trawl survey.

Our ideal candidate would be someone with experience in the hake fishery, who is comfortable working long hours at sea, and has experience identifying Pacific fishes, and collecting biological specimens, including stomachs. Ability to work collaboratively and contribute to a positive team environment at sea is a must.


Survey Preparation

  • Complete all necessary training to access NWFSC server.
  • Complete formalin handling training prior to survey.
  • Work with FEAT Newport staff to become familiar with software used to collect biological information at-sea and training on the use and troubleshooting of various peripheral devices.

Survey Participation

  • Work in the wet lab alongside FEAT staff, training during the first leg to take over as lead for the final two legs.
  • Follow established protocols for data collection and keep detailed notes of any issues.
  • Operate and maintain peripheral devices (temperature and depth recorders, cameras, etc).
  • Produce at-sea reports for biological data.
  • Track any collected samples.
  • Break down and pack gear after cruise, making note of depleted or near-depleted supplies.

Post-Survey Duties

  • Store survey gear.
  • Transfer all notes to FEAT staff.
  • Distribute samples to investigators.
  • Transfer any collected stomachs from formalin to ethanol.
  • Prepare gonad samples.
  • Analyze collected stomachs following established protocols and enter data into a database.
  • Organize and inventory all FEAT gear in Newport storage area to prepare list of depleted items.
  • Provide input for enhancement and improvement of survey training materials.
  • Update protocols and training materials for 2022 field season.

Survey Dates

Survey dates for 2021, not including any required shelter-in-place for COVID 19 requirements (current requirements will be provided when available), are split into 3 legs, all departing from Newport with the survey ending in Seattle.

Leg 1: June 26 to July 16, 2021

Leg 2: July 20 to August 10, 2021

Leg 3: August 26 to September 24, 2021.

Approximately 75 days at sea total are expected, and the candidate must commit to completing all three legs. Future survey work will be available in subsequent years.


  • BS degree in biology field with at least 20 undergraduate level credits in the sciences.
  • Experience in team leadership and or personnel management.
  • Minimum of ninety (90) days of demonstrated at-sea field capability directly related to determining composition of catch and collecting biological information, with some experience in the Hake fishery preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience using a systematic key and experience identifying Northeast Pacific fishes.
  • Experience using software such as MS Excel and Word, as well as a good working knowledge of troubleshooting various computer related problems (software as well as hardware).
  • Knowledge/experience of basic soldering techniques.
  • Has taken a sea safety course (requirement to go out to sea).
  • Background check through NOAA or another federal agency completed within the last 4 years.
  • A good understanding of basic electronics to troubleshoot multiple systems at-sea.
  • Experience preparing and repairing systems for a wet environment.
  • Experience analyzing fish stomach contents.



How to Apply

Only qualified applicants that meet the minimum of 90 days at sea, with some experience in the Hake fishery need apply. If interested, applicants should submit a resume and cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the qualifications listed above and why you would be the best candidate for the job.

Please send your resume and cover letter to Kathy Robinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are a current or recent certified observer, especially in the At-Sea Hake Observer Program, please also submit a copy of your most recent A-SHOP debriefing evaluation.

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