Ocean Career: Fisheries Technician at Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

The Fisheries Technician position at the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission entails groundfish port samplers work in support of the California Port Sampling Program. The California Port Sampling Program collects fishery dependent data from federally managed commercial groundfish fisheries in California.

The primary function of this position is to collect and process fisheries data from the commercial groundfish fishery in Fort Bragg, California. The employee will go to fish receiving and processing facilities to collect biological and species composition samples from landings of Federally managed groundfish. The employee will follow project sampling protocol and guidelines to collect and process sample data. The employee will also receive, edit, and enter data from Federal fishery trawl logs. The employee will process and submit data using project and PSMFC data entry programs.

The employee will work in both office and field settings. Field work takes place outside wherever commercial fish deliveries occur (docks, ramps, parking lots, etc.), as well as inside fish processing plants. No work will occur on vessels. A portion of field work may occur on wet, slippery surfaces around moving machinery (forklifts, hoists, conveyor belts, etc.). The proportion of office to field work varies seasonally with fishing activity, but is generally half in the office and half in the field. During periods of high fishery activity, the sampler may spend up 75% of the work week in the field. Conversely, during periods of low fishery activity, the employee may spend their entire work week in the office. The employee will use their personal vehicle to move between their official work station (CDFW office) and sampling sites, less than five miles round trip.

The employee will work 40 hours per week, generally 8AM - 5PM Monday through Friday, but will have schedule flexibility to meet sampling requirements. Often, commercial fish deliveries occur outside of normal business hours and the port sampler must adjust their schedule to sample the catch. The employee will work independently but will also maintain regular contact with their supervisor, who will support and advise the employee in the performance of their duties. The employee will have no lead or supervisory duties.

This is a full-year, full-time position.

Essential Functions

The functions listed below are characteristic of the type and level of work associated with this group and pay band. They are not all-inclusive. Individual positions may perform some or all, as well as other similar work.

  • Participate in survey crews that conduct regional fishery presence/absence research, recreational/commercial fishing surveys, anadromous fish escapement surveys (carcass, redd, trap/weir, snorkel, etc.), or tag detection and mark recovery surveys. Make standardized observations such as species identification, length, weight, behavior, growth, survival, reproductive condition, and/or signs of parasites, diseases or pathogens, fin clips or tags.
  • Collect and organize biological and fishery samples and collections (such as scales, otoliths, ageing structures, other tissues, water quality, etc.).
  • Summarize and input biological or habitat data on field forms, electronic data loggers, and/or desktop computers. May assist with preliminary data summaries and analyses, technical report writing, or database management.

Knowledge Required by the Position
At the lower end of the range, employees use knowledge of basic arithmetic, reading, writing, and data collection to perform routine or repetitive tasks.

At the upper end of the position range, employees use knowledge of the basic principles and protocols of fish biology to make readings, measurements, and observations; execute tests; collect samples, etc. If complex equipment systems are operated, the employee has the knowledge to perform calibrations or adjustments to achieve desired results.

Additional Mandatory Skills

  • valid driver's license
  • fish species ID skills
  • using fish keys
  • compile and collect neat and accurate data
  • oral communication skills
  • written communication skills

Additional Desirable Skills

  • perform creel census
  • able to swim
  • lift 40-50 lbs.
  • CPR/First Aid
  • literature search/review
  • fish ageing (scale, otolith, other)
  • operate handheld data recorder
  • software skills (spreadsheet, work processing, database GIS, statistical)
  • repair & maintain equipment

Physical Demands
Demands can range from moderate -where there is walking, climbing stairs and ladders, reaching, lifting, bending, and strenuous sweeping- to rigorous. In the latter case, the incumbent must be able to handle buckets of fish or gear weighing up to 50 pounds. Long daily periods of lifting, bending, and/or standing may be required.

Work Environment
A portion of the work is performed in an office setting with adequate lighting, heating and ventilation. The majority is performed in fish processing plants, fish holding areas, and/or in the field. Incumbents may work on narrow, elevated walkways and platforms that are over or adjacent to water. Field work involves exposure to all types of weather, slippery floors, and industrial machinery. Work in sunlight and inclement weather may be required.


Minimum Qualification Requirements
A range of experience and education may be presented. At the lower end of the range, candidates must present six months of General Experience* OR one year of education above the high school level that included at least six semester hours in any combination of scientific or technical courses. An equivalent combination of experience and education is also qualifying.

At the upper end of the range, candidates must present one year of Specialized Experience** OR a 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree with a major or at least 24 semester hours of coursework in any combination of scientific or technical courses. An equivalent combination of experience and education is also qualifying.

  • General Experience is (1) any type of work that demonstrates the applicant's ability to perform the work of the position or (2) experience that provided a familiarity with biological sciences or the processes of the biological sciences.

**Specialized Experience is experience that equips the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position and is typically in or related to the work of the position being filled.

Location: CDFW Fort Bragg (Harbor Drive)
Project Length: 12 months or more
Position Type: Full-Year
Travel Requirements: Up to 10%
Driving: Personal Vehicle - Valid driver's license required. Offers of employment contingent upon passing driving records check.
Salary Target: $15.00/hour
Application Closing Date: Sep 16, 2021

Learn more about this position and how to apply.

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