At Sea Observers

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We are currently accepting applications for our next At Sea Observer training course.


ACD is certified by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to deploy At-Sea Observers onboard domestic fishing vessels to document information related to commercial fishing operations. Our At Sea Observers collect data on all species caught, whether they have been kept or discarded and the gear used to catch those species across a wide range of fisheries. Fishing trips that observers may be deployed to typically range from 1 to 8 days depending on the fishery and size of vessel, which range from 35 to 75 feet in length and operate inshore and offshore. 

At-Sea Observer Duties

  • Collect scientific, management, compliance and other data while deployed on the vessel. The data collection is recorded through observations of the fishing operations, interviews with the crew and controlled measurements of selected portions of the catch.
  • Obtain data by observing fishing effort, location, retained catch and discarded catch for each tow while aboard the vessel. Biological sampling, catch estimation and length measurement may also be required.
  • Record, collect data and photograph all marine mammals, sea turtles and sea birds indirectly captured during fishing operations.


At Sea Observer Qualifications

Our At Sea Observers are deployed independently on commercial fishing vessels and are expected to
have a minimum level of qualifications to perform job requirements:

  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • Be a Canadian citizen, hold valid Landed Immigrant Status.
  • Cannot hold any fishing licenses or fisher registration
  • Is not an employee of a fisherman, fish plant or involved in transporting fish
  • No Criminal Record (criminal record check will be conducted)
  • Must have reliable transportation
  • Must past standard physical fitness level to work in a fishing vessel environment
  • Must be able to work independently
  • Generally not be prone to motion sickness (able to work at sea)
  • Complete simple math tasks, data forms and organize trip reports
  • Experience working in fishing industry or marine vessels is preferred (but not required)

 To become certified as an At Sea Observer, the applicant will need to pass the in house training course that covers the following topics:

  • Industry Regulations, Practices and Methods
  • Role of Observer and Program in the Commercial Fisheries
  • Fishing Gear
  • Fish Species Identification
  • Scientific Sampling and Data Collection
  • Navigation and Plotting
  • Marine Safety Training and First Aid

If you are interested in working with ACD as a certified At Sea Observer, please click on the Apply Now button above

or contact us with a resume at:

Atlantic Canada Region (NS and NB)

Fax: 902-881-2785



1801 Hollis Street,
Suite 1220
Halifax, NS

Phone: (902) 422-4745
Fax: (902) 422-9780

New England

4 Parker Street, 2nd Floor
Gloucester, MA
USA 01930

1-888-477-4245 (HAIL)

Phone: (902) 749-5107
Fax: (902) 749-4552


32 Hawthorne Street
Yarmouth, NS

1-888-477-4245 (HAIL)

Phone: (902) 749-5107
Fax: (902) 749-4552


32 Hawthorne Street
Yarmouth, NS

1-888-477-4245 (HAIL)

Phone: (902) 749-5107
Fax: (902) 749-4552


PO Box 1664
Pictou, NS

1-888-477-4245 (HAIL)

Phone: (902) 485-4683
Fax: (902) 485-8242