Chief Fisheries Scientist

Nouméa, New Caledonia

  • Nouméa 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 Chief Fisheries Scientistwill strengthen scientific knowledge and outputs of FAME in areas that are relevant to the development and management of fisheries resources in the region, ensuring that the work of the Division is of the highest international quality. The work will focus on developing and promoting FAME as a “centre of excellence” in fisheries science, with a main focus in oceanic fisheries. He/she will strengthen engagement and collaboration with members and partners in fisheries science and have a strong hands-on role in undertaking collaborative research. The position will also provide mentoring to SPC and Pacific Island fisheries agency staff aimed at developing skills in quantitative fisheries analysis in particular. The incumbent will work with other senior staff of the Division in developing science-based projects/programmes to address the fisheries management and development priorities of members, where possible incorporating cross-sectoral inputs and outcomes.


The key responsibilities of the role include the following:


  1. Strengthen scientific knowledge and outputs of the SPC in areas that are relevant to the development and management of coastal and oceanic fisheries resources in the region, while promoting, in the first instance, the SPC/OFP as a “centre of excellence” in oceanic fisheries science
  • Plays a lead role in generating scientific publications showcasing the work of FAME
  • Ensures that tuna stock assessments and related analyses incorporate international best-practice in the field
  • Enhances the impact of the scientific work of FAME through media outreach, and presentations at regional and international fora
  • Mentors FAME division staff to improve their skills in stock assessment and relevant analytical work
  1. Strengthen engagement and collaboration with members and partners in fisheries science
  • Fosters collaboration with national, regional and international scientific and academic institutions, and acts as a focal point for scientific collaboration with such institutions
  • Facilitates capacity-building opportunities for young professionals in member fisheries administrations through short to long-term attachments at SPC Headquarters or by co-supervision of postgraduate students
  • Provides scientific advice to members regarding the management of oceanic fisheries resources
  • Represents SPC on national fisheries management committees, scientific committees, industry bodies and other fora that provide an opportunity for engagement in and uptake of FAME’s scientific work
  1. Develop new science-based projects/programmes to address the oceanic and coastal fisheries management and development priorities of members
  • Collaborates with other FAME staff in planning, designing, resourcing and implementing new scientific projects/programmes
  • Where appropriate, solicits cross-sectoral inputs and outcomes from other SPC divisions, PCCOS, and agencies to enhance the impact and effectiveness of projects in addressing the complex development challenges of the region


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



Key selection criteria


  1. Qualifications
  • PhD degree or equivalent in fisheries science or related discipline, plus at least fifteen years of relevant postdoctoral research experience.
  1. Technical expertise
  • Broad knowledge of marine science, fisheries biology and oceanography
  • Detailed knowledge of pelagic fisheries, with emphasis on tuna and/or tropical reef or lagoon fisheries
  • Detailed expert knowledge in one or more of the following: fisheries stock assessment; fisheries statistics; fisheries ecology and biology
  • Extensive experience in the provision of scientific advice in fisheries management
  • Experience in the leadership, planning and implementation of fisheries research projects, and the analysis and interpretation of the results therefrom
  • Proven history of successfully leading multidisciplinary teams of fisheries scientists, data base specialists, fishery monitors and support staff
  • Excellent time and programme/project management skills including team leadership and staff supervision
  • Demonstrable financial management skills including resource mobilisation and the development of large and small funding proposals
  1. Language skills
  • Communication skills in English of a high order, particularly in written and oral presentation of scientific results to diverse audiences
  1. Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness
  • Interpersonal skills of a high order, including the ability to work with scientific and support staff in a team environment and to manage relationships critical for collaborative research projects
  • Cultural sensitivity and the ability to work as part of an inter-disciplinary and multi-cultural team
  • Knowledge of Pacific Island countries and territories is an advantage



Salary, terms and conditions


Contract Duration – This part-time position (60%) is budgeted for 3 years and is subject to renewal depending on performance and funding.


Remuneration – The Chief Fisheries Scientist is a Band 14 position in SPC’s 2020 full time salary scale, with a starting salary range of 6,155– 7,597 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately XPF 906,409–1,118,837 (USD 8,494–10,484; EUR 7,596–9,376). 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).


Recruitment principles

SPC’s recruitment is based on merit and fairness, and candidates are competing in a selection process that is fair, transparent and non-disciminatory.

SPC is an equal-opportunity employer, and is committed to cultural and gender diversity, including bilinguism, and will seek to attract and appoint candidates who respect these values. Due attention is given to gender equity and the maintenance of strong representation from Pacific Island professionals. If two interviewed candidates are ranked equal by the selection panel, preference will be given to the Pacific Islander.

Applicants will be assured of complete confidentiality in line with SPC’s Privacy Policy.




Application procedure


Closing date: 30th July 2020 – 11:00 pm Noumea time

Job Reference: AL000301

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 (2.000 characters maximum per question)

  1. What in your view defines a centre of excellence in fisheries sciences?
  2. Please describe and justify what you consider to be three key strategic science partnerships for FAME in the next decade.
  3. What are the essential elements of providing high quality scientific advice to fisheries managers?

Final_JD- Chief Fisheries Scientist - June 2020.docx

Type: Contract - International

Category: Fisheries - Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems

Reference ID: AL000301

Date Posted: 30/06/2020