Working as a Setline Survey Specialist
For the management of the Pacific halibut fishery, setline survey specialists, formerly known as sea samplers, are key players who collect data on IPHC’s Fishery-Independent Setline Survey (FISS) that are independent from the commercial fishery. IPHC’s quantitative scientists analyze the fishery-independent data collected by setline survey specialists in concert with commercial fishing data. The IPHC use these results to inform the decisions for setting the total allowable catch for the upcoming season. The setline survey specialist’s primary role is to collect biological and catch per unit effort (CPUE) data from Pacific halibut; however, because the chartered vessels present a valuable scientific research platform, setline survey specialists are also involved in other research projects during deployment. The IPHC also collaborates with other agencies to take full advantage of the marine research opportunities made possible by our fleet of vessels chartered for research.
All successful setline survey specialists have a passion for the sea and a sense of adventure. They are independent, hard-working problem solvers, who are safety conscious, flexible, and meticulous about data. 25-30 setline survey specialists are hired each year to work aboard a fleet of 12-15 IPHC-chartered commercial longline vessels and conduct the FISS, which ranges from the waters of northern California, up through British Columbia to the Bering Sea, and west to Attu in the Aleutian Islands. The majority of setline survey specialists return to the job the following summer.