Senior Fisheries Scientist (Statistical Modelling), Noumea, New Caledonia 121 views

Senior Fisheries Scientist (Statistical Modelling)

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  • Noumea-based position
  • Attractive expatriate package
  • Join the principal development organisation in the region


The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our unique organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division includes the Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) and Coastal Fisheries Programme (CFP). The goal of the OFP is to ensure fisheries that exploit the region’s resources of tuna, billfish and related species are managed for economic and ecological sustainability using the best available scientific information. In pursuing this goal, the OFP provides scientific support for the management of fisheries for tuna and associated species, with a strong focus on stock assessment and modelling, fisheries and ecosystem monitoring and analysis and data management. The OFP works closely with member countries and territories, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Parties to the Nauru Agreement and other regional and sub-regional entities.

The role The Senior Fisheries Scientist (Statistical Modelling) will undertake a programme of work that contributes to fisheries and ecosystem monitoring and analysis objectives in the FAME Business Plan through statistical analysis and modelling. This is to be achieved through analyses of tuna tagging, oceanographic, observer and fisheries catch/effort data with the goals of improving regional and national assessments of tuna stocks in the SPC and adjacent areas, and, providing information to support ecosystem based fisheries in the region.

The key responsibilities of the role include the following:

  • Research to support stock assessment and ecosystem-based fisheries management
  • Statistical analyses and modelling of the tagging data held at SPC to support the management of tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean ;
  • Lead the enhancement of Multifan CL to better utilise tuna tagging data in stock assessments of tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean ;
  • Lead analyses to support the experimental design of tuna tagging cruises to meet the objectives of tagging programmes ;
  • Contribute to the incorporation of tuna tagging data/information into the ecosystem models: SEAPODYM and ECOPATH ;
  • Lead the documentation of the results of research for publication as scientific papers, technical reports and country reports, and present findings to regional and scientific meetings ;
  • Support for ecosystem-based fisheries management by WCPFC
  • Provide advice and information derived from tuna tagging data and tuna biology as well as observer data and other relevant data sources, to the WCPFC Secretariat, the WCPFC Scientific Committee and its technical working groups ;
  • Present the results and summary of outputs to stakeholders as agreed ;
  • Keep formal records of work conducted and stakeholder communications across the work of FEMA as required.
  • Support for ecosystem-based fisheries management by SPC members
  • Build the capacity within SPC members for interpreting and undertaking tuna tagging data analyses and ecosystem analyses ;
  • In collaboration with other senior OFP staff, provide advice to SPC members on the ecosystem impacts of regional tuna fisheries and provide scientific support for the adoption of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.
  • Provision of statistical and modelling advice and other inputs to relevant FAME work
  • Provide statistical and modelling inputs to the work of other staff, particularly OFP-FEMA ;
  • Organise and be responsible for statistical and modelling training attachments at SPC ;
  • Assist and lead the planning and operation of review workshops and other relevant technical meetings at SPC as required.
  • Project development, planning, resource mobilisation, reporting and administration
  • Contribute to SPC publications and reports, and media activities as required ;
  • Assists the Section Head, to develop the annual work plans and work plan reports for the Section, consistent with the strategic plan ;
  • Contribute to resource mobilisation activities, assist in developing funding proposals and donor reports.

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.

Key selection criteria

  • Qualifications
  • A Masters degree in statistics, mathematics, fisheries science, population biology, or a related discipline ; or
  • A PhD in quantitative modelling in a fisheries topic with relevant statistical, mathematical and modelling expertise.
  • Technical expertise
  • A least six years (for PhD holders) or nine years (MSc holder) demonstrated professional experience in the application of modern mathematical and statistical methods, including Bayesian and non-linear parameter estimation ;
  • At least 3 years post-doctoral experience in fisheries science ;
  • Publications in fisheries science ;
  • Well-developed computer programming skills in AD Model Builder, Python, R, or C++.
  • Language skills
  • Excellent verbal and written presentation and communication skills in English, both at a technical level and in the preparation of information destined for the general public.
  • Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness
  • Excellent interpersonal skills that contribute to building productive relationships and partnerships across SPC and its stakeholders ;
  • A team player, with the ability to work effectively as a member of interdisciplinary teams and in a multicultural setting ;
  • Cultural sensitivity and a demonstrated understanding of developing country environments ;
  • Knowledge of Pacific Island countries and territories is an advantage.

Salary, terms and conditions Required start date – This position is to be filled as soon as possible.

Contract Duration – This position is budgeted for three years and is subject to renewal for three years depending on performance and funding.

Remuneration – The Senior Fisheries Scientist (Statistical Modelling) is a Band 12 position in SPC’s 2019 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 4,580–5,629 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately XPF 654,276 – 804,095 (USD 6,503–7,993; EUR 5,483–6,738). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration being given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. SPC salaries are not presently subject to income tax in New Caledonia.

Benefits for international staff employees based in New Caledonia – SPC provides subsidised housing in Noumea. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance, and education allowance are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).

Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.

Equal opportunity – SPC is an equal opportunity employer. Recruitment is based entirely on merit; in cases where two short-listed candidates are judged to be of equal rank by the selection committee, preference will be given to Pacific Island nationals.

Child protection – SPC is committed to child protection, irrespective of whether any specific area of work involves direct contact with children. SPC’s Child Protection Policy is written in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Police clearance – Successful candidates will be required to provide a police clearance certificate.

Application procedure Closing date: 15 December 2019

Job Reference: AL000247

Applicants must apply online at

Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.

For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:

  • an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills and experience relative to the key selection criteria, and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

All positions at SPC have specific screening questions. If you do not respond to all of the screening questions, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.

Screening questions

  • What are the key considerations in the statistical design of large-scale tagging research programmes to ensure data collected are fit for purpose?
  • Describe the range of data sets, statistical analyses and modelling frameworks you might apply to exploring the behavioural dynamics of tunas associated with drifting fish aggregation devices.
  • What are the key issues you consider fishery managers should be aware of when reviewing scientific advice?

Job Ref: AL000247

Submitted: 14-11-2019 03:00 PM

Applications Close: Sunday, 15 Dec 2019

Job Type: Contract – International

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