Ocean Career: Project Manager at the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) is seeking a project manager for the Alaska marine mammal observer program.

Members of the Project Manager job family have responsibility for developing and implementing budgets, staffing, work plans, and schedules for their organization in support of fisheries management and/or data collection activities. They monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting contractually established goals and are held accountable for the achievement of those goals.

Position/Project Specifics:

In southeastern Alaska, mortality and serious injury of harbor porpoise incidental to the salmon drift gillnet fishery is of conservation concern. The person hired for this position will work collaboratively with staff from PSMFC and the NMFS AFSC to design, implement, and manage a marine mammal monitoring program. In its initial years, this new observer program will collect data required to evaluate harbor porpoise mortality incidental to the state-managed salmon drift gillnet fishery operating within the inland waters of southeastern Alaska. The overarching goal of the project is to design a monitoring program which will provide comprehensive assessment of protected species bycatch in a given fishery, as observed fisheries will change from year to year depending on need.

An initial scoping phase would be conducted to gain knowledge about the fishery, assess logistics involved in the collection of statistically reliable information, and research novel observation techniques (e.g., electronic monitoring, infrared technology, cluster sampling, etc.). These initial scoping years are focused on developing the tools necessary to support a long-term monitoring program that can be scaled to other fisheries or to allow additional coverage in response to management needs. Research activities conducted during the scoping phase may focus on both developing more effective monitoring methods for observers (e.g., alternate platforms) and the integration of technology into the monitoring program. We are seeking a highly organized self-starter with excellent analytical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. This person has managed teams of people with diverse skillsets and backgrounds, and has experience leading large research or environmental assessment teams.

Position Duties:

  • Conduct scoping work and provide sample design recommendations
  • Write research grant proposals to test novel observation techniques (e.g., electronic monitoring, infrared technology, cluster sampling)
  • Work with database designers to establish a single data repository for the Program that integrates past and future data collections
  • Coordinate with Alaska Fisheries Science Center staff to develop training materials and data QA/QC processes
  • Prepare reports describing the Southeast drift gillnet fishery, associated sampling challenges, and recommended strategies to mitigate challenges.

Essential Functions:

  • Serve as leader for a field research project. Develop annual work plan, annual statement of work, and annual budget. Establish schedule and assure personnel and funding resources are in place for each phase.
  • Develop and adapt procedures and techniques to insure timeliness, scientific accuracy, quality of work, integrity of data, adherence to policies and specifications, and overall achievement of contract deliverables.
  • Write, edit, and assemble progress reports on achievement of contract deliverables, technical reports, and annual reports. Assure compliance with fiscal and reporting guidelines.
  • Represent project in meetings with agencies, tribes, fishing industry representatives, universities, and consultants. Coordinate activities with affected parties and gain support and acceptance of proposals and recommendations.


Knowledge Required by the Position: The successful candidate will require strong collaboration, facilitation and leadership skills, including but not limited to:

  • Knowledge of principles, methods, techniques, and systems of project management. This includes the ability to provide leadership in the areas of: goal setting, budgeting, direction of personnel, travel management, time and attendance management, procurement, and contract administration.
  • Ability to apply sound judgment in the solution of organizational and operational problems in a timely, economical fashion.
  • Ability to analyze and evaluate outcome of unit work efforts.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of key management, staff, government agencies, and private concerns. This requires the exercise of tact, ingenuity, and resourcefulness
  • Ability to communicate effectively, in both written and oral form, with individuals and groups having diverse backgrounds and technical expertise.

Mandatory Skills:

  • 2-3 years project management experience;
  • Experience (1-2 years) designing and implementing large research projects or leading complex environmental assessments;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, and the ability to distill critical information from diverse and detailed sources, and translate that information between technical experts and more general audiences
  • Knowledge of database management procedures and techniques including data acquisition, validation, standardization, exchangeability, entry, storage, and retrieval.


Desirable Skills:

  • Experience as a Fisheries Observer, research survey scientist, or other fisheries or marine mammal related field research activities.
  • Training and experience with sampling theory and data collection.
  • Knowledge of relational databases (e.g. Oracle) and SQL
  • Experience conducting quantitative analyses to inform fishery management.
  • Offers of employment with PSMFC are contingent upon candidates being fully vaccinated from COVID-19 (unless eligible for exemption under a reasonable accommodation).


Location: Seattle, Washington or Juneau, Alaska negotiable after selection

Minimum Qualification Requirements:

Preference will be given to a candidate with a minimum of bachelor's degree with quantitative coursework and/or training related to data analysis, sampling methods, and/or database management and at least two years of supervisory experience. Master's degree in fisheries, biological sciences, or other relevant field with 2-3 years of experience strongly preferred.

A range of experience and education may be presented. Candidates must present one year of Specialize Experience**.

**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. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower level in the normal line of progression for the position being filled.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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