Fisheries Program
Northeast Region


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) offers both paid and unpaid internships.  These are generally arranged directly between the intern and staff at one of our field stations.

The American Fisheries Society runs the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program which is open competitively to high school students in grades 11-12 who are interested in spending eight weeks in the summer working in the Fisheries field.  Selected students get a $3,000 scholarship.  More information is available online at

The Service Fisheries Program also contracts out paid intern recruitment and hiring to other organizations like the Student Conservation Association (SCA). The SCA then places interns at our offices where they gain work experience. You can look for these internships at

What sorts of experiences do interns have with us?

Interns at the Central New England FRO in Nashua, NH learn how to raise Atlantic salmon and American shad at the Nashua NFH; they are on the Merrimack River in boats electrofishing or collecting the adults assisting with trapping & transporting these huge fish; they are at the dams and in the field monitoring the fish counts; peering into the streams to identify and sample freshwater mussels; mounting salmon scales on microscopic slides and reading the rings, like with tress, to determine the age of returning adults; entering the data that they collect into databases and producing reports; and, they are helping with grounds, facility and equipment maintenance. The interns receive Defensive Driving, Information Technology/Security Training, and on-the-job training in the field including electrofishing. See 2 photos.

At the Connecticut River Coordinator’s Office in Sunderland, MA interns are transporting a million Atlantic salmon fry to rivers where they are released in the spring; capturing and transferring thousands of blueback herring; assisting with sea lamprey, American shad, blueback herring and American eel assessments & monitoring; mounting scales for aging sea run salmon; helping with computer data entry; and, maintaining equipment as required for fisheries restoration. Here, the interns get on-the-job training in field work. See photo.

In East Orland, Maine, interns at the Craig Brook NFH are feeding and caring for endangered Atlantic salmon juveniles, captive broodstock, and sea-run adults; they are instrumental in the timely completion of intensive pathogen testing for Infectious Salmonid Anemia virus; they are sterilizing rearing areas, repairing rearing units, and doing grounds maintenance.  Interns are trained in Defensive Driving.

Specialized experience is available to interns at the Lamar Fish Health Center in Lamar, Pennsylvania. Working in the fish health laboratory means doing media/glassware prep, maintenance, cleaning, fish necropsy, histology prep, cell culture, tissue homogenization, bacterial culture and biochemical testing, DNA extraction, fluorescent antibody testing, and polymerase chain reaction testing. Interns get some intensive on-the-job training in fish sampling and testing. They are also trained in IT Awareness, Defensive Driving, and First Aid/CPR. See photos.

At the Maine Fisheries Resources Office in East Orland, Maine interns assist with habitat assessments associated with habitat connectivity improvements – this means using GPS, conducting habitat assessments, electrofishing to sample fish populations, and using stream simulation techniques; they also get to tag future broodstock at the Craig Brook NFH, conduct disease screening, spawn adult Atlantic salmon and care for Atlantic salmon eggs.  Intern complete Defensive Driver training and learn how to spawn fish.  See photos.

In Chittenden, Vermont interns receive on-the-job training in fish culture and biosecurity protocols. They learn the ropes of raising fish, transporting and releasing them, and they help out with grounds, facility and equipment maintenance. See photo.

At the region’s largest hatchery in Bethel, VT, interns assist hatchery staff with salmon and lake trout production including feeding fish, cleaning outdoor rearing ponds and inside holding tanks, sampling, sorting and grading fish, spawning, salmon stocking, egg and fry care, hatchery maintenance including net repair and cleaning incubators, stenciling signs, shoveling snow, and other custodial tasks. Training at the White River NFH includes on-the-job orientation, safety training and automated Defensive Driver Training. See photos.

Learn More

Check out Project Share 2010 at the Maine Fishery Resources Office (.ppt - 556KB)

Follow Kristie Gustafson around and learn about her internship at the White River NFH in Bethel, VT

Shad sampling at the Central New England Fishery Resources Office. Credit: USFWS
Shad sampling at the Central New England Fishery Resources Office. Credit: USFWS

Electrofishing on the Merrimack River. Credit: USFWS
Electrofishing on the Merrimack River. Credit: USFWS

Stocking brook trout at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS
Stocking brook trout at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS

Connecticut River Coordinator's office electrofishing. Credit: USFWS
Connecticut River Coordinator's office electrofishing. Credit: USFWS

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Last updated: December 16, 2011
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