Principal Fisheries Scientist (Coastal Fisheries Science)


The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our unique organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
The Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division includes the Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) and Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme (CFAP). CFAP’s goal is to ensure that inshore fisheries, nearshore fisheries and aquaculture in Pacific Island countries and territories are managed and developed sustainably. The programme assists governments and administrations to develop scientifically informed and socially achievable coastal fisheries management policies and procedures (national and community-based). It provides support for sustainable aquaculture, including planning, research and development, aquatic biosecurity and trade, for Pacific Island governments, the private sector and other stakeholders. It assists in developing sustainable nearshore fisheries in Pacific Island countries and territories to provide for food security, sustainable livelihoods, economic growth and assist climate change adaptation.

**The role –the Principal Fisheries Scientist (Coastal Fisheries Science)**will develop, lead and manage the coastal fisheries science work programme of the Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Section to provide the highest quality scientific support and advice to PICT governments and other stakeholders in planning and implementing coastal fisheries and aquaculture science activities in support of evidence-based management and sustainable development.

The key responsibilities of the role include the following:

Section leadership, administration, communication and staff supervision

  • Assists in strategic planning to ensure that the coastal fisheries science work meets the needs of SPC members and other Programme clients
  • Develops, in consultation with senior CFAP staff, the coastal fisheries science’s annual work plan and work plan reports
  • Manages the activities of the Section consistent with annual work plans and available funding
  • Implements the SPC staff performance planning and management system for the Section and facilitates their professional development
  • Contributes to Programme, Divisional and Corporate publications and reports

Development and oversight of the strategic direction of the Coastal Fisheries science in the Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Section to support current and emerging science needs and priorities of PICT coastal fisheries policy, management and sustainable development

  • Consults regularly with members regarding their coastal fisheries applied science needs and priorities
  • Oversees the development and management of the section’s strategic direction and focus to support members’ coastal fisheries applied science needs and priorities
  • Ensures the Science Section provides appropriate and relevant scientific support to the Aquaculture and the Management and Livelihoods sections
  • Oversees and supports the implementation of the PEUMP Programme KRA 3 science related activities

Lead, manage and implement research, development, delivery and application of innovative and appropriate methods and tools in support of SPC member coastal fisheries applied science needs

  • Oversees and supports the costal fisheries science team’s work on developing methods and tools appropriate to the data-poor nature of PICT coastal fisheries
  • Oversees and supports the transitioning of e-technology solutions into standard practices
  • Consults and participates in national, regional and international processes to develop e-reporting and e-monitoring operational and data standards for coastal fisheries
  • Oversees, supports and assists with the delivery of science training and transfer of tools and approaches to PICT

Lead the preparation of funding proposals to build the Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Section’s capacity and capability to meet the increasing SPC member applied science needs for coastal fisheries management and sustainable development

  • Develops, in consultation with the Deputy Director FAME (CF&A) funding and/or cost-recovery proposals to ensure that CFAP and the Science Section work plans are adequately funded
  • Works closely with the Aquaculture Section to develop and enhance aquaculture-related science support
  • Assists the FAME Director, Deputy Director (CF&A), and SPC resource mobilisation staff with the preparation of FAME-wide, and/or cross-Divisional proposal preparation as required

Promote and support internal and inter-agency networking and cross-sectoral collaboration in coastal fisheries science

  • Prepare and review papers for publication in peer reviewed journals, books chapters or other resources, and support the coastal fisheries science Section staff to publish
  • Present, and support the Section’s staff to present, the results and findings of the Section’s work at appropriate forums
  • Develop and promote collaborations with other programmes and divisions within SPC
  • Develop links with other CROP agencies, universities, NGOs and CSOs
  • Advocate at regional and global forums on behalf of the Pacific islands’ region coastal fisheries applied science interests
  • Work closely with other components of the PEUMP programme within SPC and with FFA, SPREP and USP

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.

Key selection criteria


  • Postgraduate degree in fisheries science, coastal fisheries science, or a related field

Technical expertise

  • At least 10 years’ relevant experience working on applied science related to fisheries, coastal finfish fisheries and/or invertebrate resources, preferably in the Pacific region
  • At least 10 years’ experience in designing and conducting finfish and/or invertebrate resource assessments, including data collection, analysis, reporting and applying the results to management and sustainable development
  • At least 5 years’ experience in managing science staff, team leadership, programme development and project management
  • Demonstrated experience of collaboration between institutions, and leadership of integrated programmes/projects
  • Proven ability to design, plan and facilitate workshops and other training
  • Experience working with PC systems, MS Office/365 software, and relevant statistical software packages
  • Willingness to travel and undertake overseas assignments in SPC member countries and territories, sometimes under difficult physical conditions

Language skills

  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and demonstrated ability to produce written reports for donors, funding proposals, trip reports, training materials etc.

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Experience in successfully leading and/or collaborating and working with people from different ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds
  • Understanding of current Pacific Islands regional coastal fisheries and aquaculture science issues, and experience of working with gender and human rights-based issues relating to coastal fisheries and/or aquaculture

Salary, terms and conditions

Contract Duration – This vacant position is budgeted until 31 December 2025 and is subject to renewal depending on performance and funding.

Remuneration – the Principal Fisheries Scientist (Coastal Fisheries Science) is a Band 13 position in SPC’s 2023 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 5,418–6,701 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately XPF 823,681–1,015,022 (USD 7,286–8,979; EUR 6,902–8,506). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration being given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. SPC salaries are not presently subject to income tax in New Caledonia.

Benefits for international staff employees based in New Caledonia – SPC provides subsidised housing in Noumea. Establishment and repatriation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave travel, health and life and disability insurances and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 working days of annual leave per annum and other types of leave, and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).

Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.

Recruitment principles – SPC’s recruitment is based on merit and fairness, and candidates are competing in a selection process that is faire, transparent and non-discriminatory. SPC is an equal-opportunity employer, and is committed to cultural and gender diversity, including bilinguism, and will seek to attract and appoint candidates who respect these values. Due attention is given to gender equity and the maintenance of strong representation from Pacific Island professionals. If two interviewed candidates are ranked equal by the selection panel, preference will begiven to the Pacific Islander. Applicants will be assured of complete confidentiality in line with SPC’s private policy.

How to apply

Application procedure

Closing date: 17 September 2023 – 11:00 pm, Noumea time

Job Reference: CR000069

Applicants must apply online at

Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.

For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:

  • an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills and experience relative to the key selection criteria, and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage if all the above documents are not provided. Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference.

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

SPC does not charge a fee to consider your application and will never ask for your banking or financial information during the recruitment process.

Screening questions

  1. The effective management and sustainable development of coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands region are constrained by a paucity of appropriate data and information. What do you see as the top three coastal fisheries science-related constraints? Why? And how will you address them, given the scale of the region and the range of target species?
  2. In general, coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands region are ‘data poor’. What experience do you have working on such fisheries? What innovative and appropriate methods and tools might assist Pacific fisheries agencies with addressing their coastal fisheries applied science needs?
  3. How would you approach building SPC FAME’s internal coastal fisheries science capacity and capability to be able to meet SPC members’ expanding science needs for evidence-based coastal fisheries management and sustainable development?

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