North Pacific Groundfish

Alaska Shellfish (Crab)

West Coast Groundfish

Past Projects

Pacific Islands Region

Alaska Marine Mammal

Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program

Saltwater has conducted field research on marine mammals since 1990. Our work has included the design and implementation of multiple year studies for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to document marine mammal and seabird interactions with particular commercial fisheries. This work is part of the Alaska Marine Mammal Observer Program (AMMOP).

In 2013 we completed a three-year study in in the Petersburg and Wrangell area of Southeast Alaska to estimate the level of serious injury and mortality of marine mammals and seabirds due to interactions with the salmon drift gillnet fishery.  Saltwater has designed and implemented similar multi-year studies in the Prince William Sound and Yakutat areas. Our observers work aboard research vessels to obtain reliable estimates of incidental injury and mortality, identify changes in fishing methods that may decrease interactions, record data on by-catch and discards, and collect biological samples.


The Petersburg/Wrangell gillnet fishery involves over 100 boats and is spread out over a large and remote geographical area where cell phone coverage is limited. It is a dynamic fishery with vessels constantly changing fishing locations. Saltwater introduced satellite communications technology to optimize observer coverage. With the push of a button fishermen can securely transmit their location prior to an opening, enabling Saltwater to deploy observers efficiently.  This provided fishermen maximum flexibility and privacy, and allowed Saltwater to observe a representative sample of total fishing effort.


Working with NMFS, Saltwater designed and implemented the first Alaska marine mammal observer program in Prince William Sound in 1990. Since then we have successfully implemented programs for the setnet gillnet fishery in Yakutat, and, currently, the drift gillnet fishery near Petersburg and Wrangell.  We understand the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the objectives of AMMOP, and what it takes to accomplish those objectives in remote areas of Alaska.

Custom Solutions

Every sampling situation is different, and Saltwater strives to find — or create — the best solutions for each job.  In the Petersburg/Wrangell program, the gillnet vessels are too small to easily accommodate an observer onboard. So, Saltwater sourced and supervised the building of research vessels designed for the task. These vessels are seaworthy in rough seas, yet small enough to maneuver close to gillnets without affecting fishing effort.

Saltwater Inc.  •  733 N Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501  •  Phone (907) 276-3241  •  Toll-Free (800) 770-3241