Fisheries Molecular Geneticist

Nouméa, New Caledonia

  • 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 Fisheries Molecular Geneticistwill undertake a programme of work that supports the fisheries and ecosystem monitoring and analysis objectives in the FAME Business Plan.   This is to be achieved through the use of genetic/genomic methods and analyses and interpretation of genetic/genomic information to develop advice that supports the assessment and management of the tuna stocks and associated species in the SPC and adjacent areas.


The key responsibilities of the role include the following:

  1. Research design and application of genetics/genomic analyses to test hypotheses concerning the stock structures and provenance, fine-scale connectivity, and population sizes of tuna and associated species managed by the WCPFC
  • Leading the development and implementation of genetic/genomic research activities that quantify the stock structure and provenance of tuna and associated species managed by the WCPFC ;
  • Evaluating the feasibility of applying close-kin mark-recapture (CKMR) methodologies to stocks of tuna and associated species in the WCPO to estimate population sizes and understand fine-scale connectivity ;
  • Contributing to the incorporation of stock structure data/information into stock assessment and ecosystem models ;
  • Leading the documentation of the results of genetic/genomic research for publication as scientific papers, technical reports and country reports, and present findings to regional and scientific meetings ;
  • Assist with fieldwork, in-country workshops and in-country training as agreed with the Principal Fisheries Scientist (FEMA).
  1. Development of sample collection and quality control protocols for genetic samples collected by WCPFC observers and third parties
  • Lead the development of quality control and quality assurance protocols for genetic material included in SPC tissue banks ;
  • Develop vessel and port-based sampling protocols for the collection of tissue samples for genetic/genomic analyses ;
  • Provide training to “trainers of biological samplers” in sampling methods for genetic material ;
  • Develop techniques for verification of species identification.
  1. Provision of scientific advice to SPC members and WCPFC
  • Build the capacity within SPC members for interpreting information on stock structure and provenance of tuna and associated species ;
  • Provide advice and information derived from genetic/genomics analyses, to the WCPFC Secretariat, the WCPFC Scientific Committee and its technical working groups, as required ;
  • Present the results and summary of outputs to stakeholders as directed by FAME managers.
  1. Resource mobilisation, project reporting and administration
  • Assist in the development and delivery of regional workshops and complementary activities to build in-country capacity to interpret and apply information on fisheries management ;
  • Host attachments from member countries and provide training in analytical and data handling methods ;


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



Key selection criteria


  1. Qualifications
  • A PhD or equivalent in Molecular/Population Genetics/Genomics ;
  • A post-doctoral research fellowship or equivalent in molecular genetics and/or bioinformatics.
  1. Technical expertise
  • At least 3 years of excellent research track record in Population or Conservation Genetics, Genomics and/or Molecular Biology as evidenced by quality and number of research publications ;
  • Demonstrated experience designing and performing field-based experiments and achieving project objectives within timelines ;
  • Well-developed analytical skills using bioinformatics software and applications ;
  1. Language skills
  • Excellent communication skills in English particularly in written and oral presentation of scientific results to diverse audiences.
  1. Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness
  • A team player, with the ability to manage and support staff in a team environment and relationships critical for collaborative projects;
  • 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 2 years and is subject to renewal depending on performance and funding.


Remuneration – The Fisheries Molecular Geneticist is a Band 11 position in SPC’s 2019 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 4,022–4,931 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately XPF 574,566–704,457 (USD 5,711–7,002; EUR 4,815–5,903). 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).


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.


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



Application procedure


Closing date: 9 of February 2020 – 11:30 pm Noumea time

Job Reference: AL000261

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

  1. Briefly describe what protocols must be followed to maintain quality control of biological samples for genetic analyses.
  2. Briefly describe how data on kinship may assist in assessing the stock status of tunas.
  3. Briefly describe how an understanding of the adaptive potential of tuna may assist with their management.

JD - Fisheries Molecular Geneticist.docx

Type: Contract - International

Category: Fisheries - Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems

Reference ID: AL000261

Date Posted: 06/01/2020