Ocean Career: Biologist at NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

This position is located within the Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), Sustainable Fisheries Division (SFD) with one vacancy located in Honolulu, HI.

This position is also announced under vacancy number NMFS-PIR-2022-0030, which is open to Status candidates. You must apply to both announcements if you want to be considered for both.


As a Biologist, you will perform the following duties:

  • Provide support to observers in proper data collection methods to include but not limited to protected species, fisheries research data, sea turtles, seabirds, marine mammal encounters, etc., and review and validate the accuracy of observer data.
  • Arrange for biological specimens to be shipped and transferred to science centers, travel to sea to test equipment and data collection methods, interview observers during the debriefing process to extract anecdotal information regarding observations at sea, and provide quality control feedback to observer and management on collected data and collected biological specimens.
  • Assist with training to prepare observers for at sea data collection and deployment, species identification, proper collection, and labeling of specimen samples, including topics such as safety, protected species identification, specimen collection, bycatch, biological data collection, sampling techniques, observer regulatory authorities, fishing gear, data collection, protected species data and handling, etc., ensuring compliance with protected species forms.
  • Assist with the transition to e-reporting and the development and maintenance of debriefing and data editing procedures, and assist program managers by liaising with NMFS enforcement, Coast Guard, observers, and other parties involved with law enforcement matters.


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov).
  • Qualifications requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.

Due to COVID-19, the agency is currently in an expanded telework posture. NOAA received notice of reintegration to occur on April 25, 2022. As employees are permitted to return to the office, you will need to follow management’s guidelines on the expectation of reporting to the duty station listed on this announcement. You may be eligible to request to telework depending upon the terms of the agency’s telework policy.

The ZP-2 is equivalent to the GS-07/09 grade levels, however is only being advertised equivalent to the GS-09 grade level.

PHYSCIAL REQUIREMENT: Incumbent must be susceptible to chronic motion sickness, able to live in confined quarters, be able to work in stressful conditions, and be able to lift and carry up to 50 lbs.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT: Incumbent must be able to obtain and maintain a valid state driver's license to operate a government vehicle to drive and transport trainees during training and to transport specimens, etc.


Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management's website located here.

To qualify at the 0401 series:

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: This position has a positive Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of Specialized Experience OR substitution of education for experience OR combination (if applicable) in order to be found minimally qualified. Transcripts must be submitted with your application package. You MUST meet the following requirements:

A. Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.


B. Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. This experience need not have been in the federal government.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations e.g., professional; philanthropic, religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies; knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

To qualify at the ZP-2 or GS-9:

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZP-2 or GS-07 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:

Participating in observer activities on vessels/at sea such as protected species interactions, data collection, marine species identification, or bycatch; and Assisting in the collection/handling of data and biological specimens.


SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION: 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree.


COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: A combination of education and experience as described above.

NOTE: Only graduate education in excess of one year is qualifying for combination.

Salary: $56,705 - $81,180 per year
Application Deadline: August 11, 2022

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