Ocean Career: Fisheries Observers at CEFAS

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) is seeking individuals to fill three Fisheries Observer positions, 1 based in Lowestoft, 1 based in Plymouth and 1 based in Scarborough.

You will be a member of a highly motivated and committed team of observers who are based in ports throughout England, delivering important scientific work required under UK legislation. Your main duties will be to record the numbers of fish and shellfish which are retained and discarded on board English registered fishing vessels during normal commercial fishing operations. You will also be required to undertake biological sampling of fish and shellfish landings at various ports in England. You will work regularly at sea on commercial fishing vessels, to schedules determined by the fishing boat skipper (up to approx.80 days at sea per year), and with shore-based industry sectors, such as fish markets and merchants. Covid restrictions have meant changes to some aspects of the role.

Job description

Your main duties will include:

  • Planning and undertaking sampling trips onboard commercial fishing vessels sailing from ports across England
  • Arranging and processing samples from vessels ashore
  • Planning and undertaking detailed biological sampling of fish/shellfish landings at fishing ports across England
  • Obtaining otoliths and scales from fish samples
  • Adhering to and promoting safety measures in the field and office
  • Establishing and maintaining good relations and communication with fishing industry
  • Entering data into databases, data checking and QC and timely delivery of data
  • Participate in other projects as required for example, fishing gear technology
  • Assisting in fieldwork aboard commercial fishing vessels and research vessels at sea where necessary
  • Contributing to production of reports


The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

Applicants should be highly motivated, target driven individuals with good communications skills, both verbal and written. A keen interest in collecting good fisheries data is essential as the job can be challenging at times. As this role must work around the fishing industry, both onshore and at sea, applicants must be willing to work unsociable hours.

  • Good interpersonal communication skills
  • Self-motivated and self-reliant with a keenness to meet targets
  • Willingness to work flexibly with unsociable hours, sometimes in challenging weather and environmental conditions
  • Ability to conduct physical and precise scientific fieldwork at sea and on land with good
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to follow protocols to consistently record numerical and other data
  • Experience or willingness to work at sea, on commercial fishing vessels in different sea conditions
  • Knowledge of vessel safety
  • Valid driving licence for driving in the UK

Qualifications and experience required are a degree in a scientific subject and/or relevant experience working with the fishing industry.


Valid driving licence for driving in the UK


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace


  • Access to learning and development tailored to your role
  • A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options
  • A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity
  • A civil service pension
  • Annual leave 25 days (rising, over 5 years to 30 days) for full time new entrants to the Civil Service
  • Employees receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day in May/June to mark the Queen’s Birthday
  • Staff Recognition vouchers
  • In-year recognition scheme (monetary amounts up to max £2000 possible)

Things you need to know

Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and behaviour statements. The CV will ask for your Job History, Qualifications and Past Skills and Experience.
Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

New entrants are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.
£24,918 - £26,894

Nationality Requirements
This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • Nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • Nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • Nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • Relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • Relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • Certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Application Deadline
Apply before 11:55 pm on Friday 24th September 2021

Learn more about this position and how to apply.

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