Training and Briefings

Observer candidates must complete a three week training course conducted by NMFS. Prospective candidates must pass written/oral tests with a score of 80% or greater. Tests are based on materials presented in training and on the species that observers will likely encounter in the field. In addition, candidates must successfully complete the safety training that includes on-land and in-water tests of immersion and life raft use. Following the three week training all observer candidates will be required to complete four day partial coverage training. Current NPGOP observers will be required to complete their annual 4 day briefing before they can be deployed. During the training period observers will work an average of 8 hours a day.

The training covers the following major topics:

• At-sea safety
• Sampling methods, techniques and procedures
• Identification of invertebrates, fish, birds and marine mammals found in the Bering Sea of Alaska and Gulf of Alaska
• Data recording and reporting requirements
• Electronic data entry and transmission
• Pertinent fishing regulations
• Basics of fisheries management
• Observer Life

NMFS Training Schedule

Click this link for most current NMFS training schedule


All new and current observers are required to attend briefings that could last 1-4 days. Partial coverage briefings will take place before a deployment to the partial coverage fleet. Annual briefings occur prior to an observers first deployment within any calendar year subsequent to a year in which they completed the partial coverage briefing. For observers who have completed trips in the partial coverage fleet, a deployment briefing will occur prior to any subsequent trips in the fleet. Briefings will be conducted by NMFS staff and may occur in Seattle,Washington, Anchorage, Dutch Harbor or Kodiak, Alaska depending on the availability of staff.