Ocean Career: Ocean Associates Inc. Social Scientist

Ocean Associates Inc. (OAI) is seeking a Social Scientist to join the Social Science Branch (SSB) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in either Narragansett, RI or Woods Hole, MA. OAI is a Virginia corporation established in 2003 that provides consulting and technical services to the US government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the private sector. We specialize in scientific program and project management, strategic planning, professional and technical services, and stakeholder engagement, supporting government contracts.

The successful candidate will work closely with and provide support to the Offshore Wind Ecology Branch (OWEB). The NEFSC provides scientific support and expertise to determine effects from offshore wind energy development (OWED) on fisheries and fishing communities. The successful candidate will also help to advance the SSB Research and Development goals and will contribute to achieving NOAA Fisheries scientific objectives and priorities such as, but not limited to, assisting ongoing efforts by the NEFSC to develop monitoring standards and socio-economic indicators for impact assessments, and research on compensatory mitigation for fisheries and OWED.


1. Assist in development of monitoring standards for OWED and fisheries

Monitoring is needed to understand the changes in fishing behavior and operations from the development of OWED as a new ocean use. Monitoring changes in the socio-economic system should include behavioral, economic and social-cultural factors. At the initial stage this will require:

  • Coordinating and compiling existing data, indicators and strategies used to monitor the socio-economic system
  • Assisting in coordinating and communicating with FMCs
  • Identifying data gaps and other activities as part of the initiation of developing new data collection efforts, including Paper Reduction Act (PRA) needs and requirements
  • Assisting in the development of methods for monitoring impacts of OWED on fishing communities.

2. Assist in development of OWED and fisheries socio-economic indicators

The development of indicators to help identify fishing communities most vulnerable to OWED will inform social impact assessments and mitigation strategies. Tasks to assist in the initial stages of developing socio-economic indicators include:

  • Reviewing literature to identify existing data, ongoing research and similar efforts in the region, ex. coordinating with NEFSC’s Gulf of Maine Integrated Ecosystem Assessment project
  • Compiling and creating data sets
  • Data analysis and presentation

3. Assist in research on fisheries compensatory mitigation

New compensatory strategies are being developed and implemented through the OWED approval process as a way of mitigating impacts on fisheries. Research is needed to better understand compensatory mitigation strategies, methods, and approaches to inform science and management actions. Tasks to assist in this process include:

  • Reviewing compensatory mitigation literature and existing strategies for OWED
  • Outreach efforts with fisheries stakeholders


  • Spreadsheets and files of compiled existing data, indicators and strategies used to monitor the socio-economic system.
  • Report outlining data gaps, needs and recommended methods for monitoring impacts of OWED on fishing communities.
  • Spreadsheets and files of compiled existing data and similar efforts to develop socio-economic indicators.
  • Datasets of combined existing data.
  • Analyses conducted, including written documentation of all methodology, results, conclusions, and recommendations as applicable.
  • Report on compensatory mitigation review.
  • Monthly progress reports that include, but are not limited to, the following: accomplishments, issues encountered, travel (including purpose, significant outcomes, action items), and recommendations if applicable.

Required Skills/Qualifications

  • Graduate degree or equivalent experience in social sciences related to the task requirements.
  • Experience with data analysis and in the design, development, and management of relational databases for scientific information.
  • Basic skills in statistical analyses and proficiency in statistical software (e.g., SPSS, SAS).
  • Demonstrated proficiency in project management for complex and technical scientific programs.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in cooperating with diverse project teams to develop, improve, and achieve project goals.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in communication both verbally and using written materials (including visual presentations) with a variety of audiences including technical, scientific, and the general public.
  • Independent worker with strong time management skills.
  • Adaptability to quickly changing priorities and strict timelines.
  • Attention to detail.

Preferred Skills/Qualifications:

  • Experience with stakeholder outreach and communication.
  • Knowledge of programming language, like R or python.
  • Experience with NMFS data.

Location: On-site location in either Narragansett, RI or Woods Hole, MA. Both routine and situational remote work may be possible.

Travel: Potential travel to attend meetings and workshops.

Salary: This is a full-time position with benefits. $32 to $52 /hour depending on experience.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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