IPHC Sea Sampler Employment Opportunities for Summer 2019

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) will be conducting comprehensive a Fishery-Independent Setline Survey (FISS) ranging from the West Coast of the USA and Canada to the Aleutian chain and Bering Sea in the summer of 2019.  The FISS will be conducted aboard chartered commercial longline fishing vessels with a scientific crew of two to three Sea Samplers aboard each vessel. Additionally, the IPHC will deploy Sea Samplers on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries trawl surveys, which consist of a scientific crew of five to six including the one IPHC representative. There are two NOAA Fisheries trawl surveys planned for 2019.

Several Sea Sampler positions will be available in 2019 and the IPHC will be conducting interviews from 4 to 7 February 2019 to fill vacancies for the coming summer.  Applicants must be available either in person, via skype, or by telephone for an interview during this time. However, if a qualified applicant is unavailable to interview due to a current work assignment, the applicant should indicate alternative dates for an interview.  Interviews will be granted based on the rated qualifications listed below. Positions are anticipated to be filled by 28 February 2019.

Qualified candidates who have successfully completed the interview will be placed on a roster from which openings will be filled.  Inclusion on the roster list does not guarantee employment.  Any candidates on the roster, but not hired for work in 2019, will be added to the standby list for the following season’s work and may not have to re-interview for future work in the following year.

All hired Sea Samplers will be required to attend training in Seattle 20-24 May 2019, and must have a valid passport that does not expire within six months of 20 May 2019.

Job Description

Work aboard the IPHC FISS vessel involves collecting and recording length, sex, maturity, and age determination structures (otoliths) from Pacific halibut. Information on other species catch and special projects will be assigned accordingly. Working on a deck can be cold and wet and sampling the fish will require heavy lifting in bloody, slimy, and smelly conditions which are constantly moving. Sea Samplers utilize knives and forceps while conducting their duties on deck.

Applicants should be aware that living conditions aboard FISS vessels are often cramped, noisy, and uncomfortable. Considering the smaller nature of the vessels (generally 60-90 feet), the individual sleeping berths are often in common quarters. FISS Sea Samplers and vessel crew of both genders may be aboard the vessel at any time. The vessels are required to serve three meals per day, but they are not required to cater to special dietary needs. Personnel must be flexible and maintain effective interpersonal relations under the described conditions. Employees will act as liaison between the IPHC Seattle office and other involved parties, such as the vessel captain and NOAA Fisheries representatives, to assure that the research objectives are properly met.

During deployment, Sea Samplers may be required to perform additional tasks in port when not assigned to a vessel. These days are considered “working standby” and are subject to a different pay rate than that received while at sea. Duties include but are not limited to data editing, data entry, and assisting IPHC Fisheries Data Program Field Staff. The employee will be given accommodations and meal allowances during these periods. Occasionally, Sea Samplers are placed on an unpaid break between assignments at which time they will be returned to their hire city.  Hire cities are either Seattle, WA, Anchorage, AK, or Vancouver, BC. The IPHC pays for travel to and from work assignments if the Sea Sampler is on an IPHC forced break by reimbursing mileage $0.535/mile (max 1000 miles – 2018 rate).  Employees are expected to pay their own expenses to get to training in Seattle. Employees are provided with room and board during training.

Employment will occur from May to September and will be between 21 and 90 days in duration. Preference may be given to candidates with the widest range of availability within those months.  Positions in all areas of the surveys are open to all employees, regardless of nationality.

Who may apply: The Commission is an International Governmental Organization and as such we will be considering applicants regardless of nationality.

Salary range: $289- $324/day (U.S. currency – 2018 rate) while aboard vessel plus a $6.25/day taxable gear allowance. There are separate daily rates for travel and working standby.  In addition, the IPHC will pay for approved transit, lodging, and expenses to and from the research vessel.  Deployment usually takes place immediately after the Seattle training at the end of May.

Duration: 21 – 90 days.

Minimum Qualifications

Education:     Graduation from a recognized University with a Bachelor of Science or an Institute of Technology with a Natural Science Diploma.

Experience:    Experience collecting scientific data on vessels at sea.

Abilities:        Ability to work long hours, negotiate slippery decks, climb ladders on the vessel and at the dock, and lift live fish as large as 40 pounds without assistance. Applicants must not be subject to motion sickness to the extent where work performance is impaired.

Background:  Employment with the IPHC requires the ability to freely cross the Canada/USA border. All prospective employees must submit to a criminal background check. A conviction for DUI/DWI, Breaking and Entering, Assault, Drugs, or Theft may prevent you from crossing the Canada/USA border and this may result in the IPHC not being able to offer you employment. All hired Sea Samplers will be required to attend training in Seattle 20-24 May 2019, and must have a valid passport that does not expire within six months of 20 May 2019.

Rated Qualifications

  • Number of sea days – minimum of 30 days
  • Experience aboard longline vessels – minimum of seven days
  • Experience aboard small (<100 ft) vessels in the open ocean – minimum of seven days
  • Skills in identifying Northeast Pacific fish species – has worked with Northeast Pacific fish species
  • Demonstrated ability to follow statistical sampling protocols and accurately record data – minimum of 30 days of related experience
  • Leadership and teamwork skills and experience – has held a leadership position in group (more than one) setting


Applications must be submitted by 25 January 2019. Candidates will be selected for interview based on meeting basic qualifications and additional demonstrated experience.

For more information about this position, please contact the IPHC Secretariat at secretariat@iphc.int or (206) 634-1838.

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