Ocean Career: Seabird & Marine Policy Officer

This is an outstanding opportunity to help ensure a better future for Northern Ireland’s seas and seabirds. You will lead RSPBNI policy and advocacy on seabird, marine, and fisheries issues and influence important debates and decisions in Northern Ireland relating to the protection of seabirds and the marine environment generally.

We are looking for an experienced policy advocate who understands and can influence the policies that impact on seabirds in Northern Ireland. You will provide thought leadership, a strong knowledge of seabirds and the issues affecting seabird populations, be well respected in this field, and you will have strong advocacy, communication, and campaigning skills.

About the Role

The UK is internationally important for seabirds and has a responsibility to protect and recover their populations. Around 8 million seabirds from 25 species breed in the UK, including 80% of the world’s Manx shearwaters, and millions more winter or pass through the UK on migration. Northern Ireland is globally important for a range of seabirds and other marine species. Yet seabirds are now under unprecedented threat, declining faster than any other group of birds. One of the most iconic North Atlantic seabirds, the puffin, is red-listed on the latest UK, and Irish, Birds of Conservation Concern reports, reflecting the high level of conservation concern for this species.

Seabirds breeding along our coastline and on our islands need safe nesting places free from introduced predators and well-managed seas and fisheries to provide food for adults and young. How we manage and protect our seas in the coming decades will play a central role in halting declines in nature and combatting climate change.

Offshore wind deployment is increasingly seen as an important aspect of NI’s future energy mix, and yet it presents significant risks for seabirds when poorly developed, delivered, and managed. At the same time, Northern will be developing its first seabird conservation strategy, and momentum is building for a more effective and comprehensive network of marine protected areas. This role will allow the successful candidate to work across all these key issues and more.

The role will involve advocacy on marine and fisheries policy with a focus on the NI Assembly and relevant NI government Departments, working closely with the NI Marine Task Force, as well as providing information, advice, and support to other staff internally on seabird and marine policy issues.

The successful candidate will work with a wide range of policy staff across the UK and with colleagues in our Conservation Science, Communications and Campaigns, and Operations teams to ensure we have an impact.

Deliverables Include:

  • Be responsible for the development of RSPB seabird and marine policy positions in consultation with relevant internal colleagues;
  • Advocate RSPB seabird and marine policy effectively to relevant external audiences (including government, business, NGOs);
  • Be responsible for the production of policy reports, consultation responses and briefings on seabird and marine policy issues;
  • Gather evidence to influence the development of Northern Ireland’s first Seabird Conservation Strategy to ensure it is robust and ambitious;
  • Build and maintain effective relationships with marine stakeholders;
  • Lead the development and delivery of projects, internally and with relevant external partners to further RSPB’s marine policy advocacy
  • objectives;
  • Lead RSPB input to development of funding applications to deliver projects that will improve the prospects of seabirds in Northern Ireland;
  • Work closely with colleagues to develop and deliver campaigns and communications material that effectively further RSPB ‘s seabird and marine policy advocacy objectives;
  • Provide support to Operations, especially Reserves with marine/seas/seabird interests and/or projects;
  • Provide support and expertise to casework on marine related proposals.

What We Need from You

  • Experience of working in a policy or advocacy role to influence the development of government policy
  • Experience of advocating policy effectively to external audiences (including government, relevant businesses, NGOs) to further specific policy and advocacy objectives.
  • Excellent understanding of marine policy in a European, UK and specifically Northern Ireland context.
  • Knowledge of seabirds and the issues affecting seabird populations
  • Ability to communicate effectively to key stakeholders about the importance of our seabird populations and to propose solutions to the threats facing seabirds.
  • Ability to write reports, consultation responses and concise policy briefings to support advocacy efforts aimed at reversing the declines in seabird populations.
  • Excellent communication, writing and negotiation skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team to deliver a project and achieve shared objectives and outcomes.
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas and proposals to a variety of audiences in a concise and clear way
  • Proven ability to build and maintain effective relationships with external stakeholders

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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