Pelagic Fisheries Scientist

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 31st January 2022


Reference number



£29,267 - £32,766


Higher Executive Officer
Cefas Payband 5

Contract type


Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts



We welcome flexible working and are open to a hybrid approach of working and in an office. The location for this role is also flexible, though some travel to Cefas sites will be required. Please be aware that this role will be contractually based at one of the Cefas sites. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time unless travelling for business purposes.

About the job


The post provides an opportunity to join an internationally respected, dynamic, and active team leading on fisheries science and management advice. The team delivers leading science and advice to both national and international marine management organisations including Defra, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES), and a variety of research projects to assess sustainability and support advice on fisheries management.

This post offers an opportunity to develop highly valuable skills in fisheries science fields, specialise in pelagic finfish stocks assessments, work on research and development to support national and international scientific advice needs, as well as gaining an international reputation. Cefas actively supports staff development and opportunities for additional professional training and the successful candidate will work in a team of prolific fisheries scientists.

Job description

The post holder will actively contribute to the development and delivery of analyses and assessments of pelagic finfish stocks considering stock dynamics and factors influencing stock productivity to support scientific advice for sustainable fisheries.

Duties will include:
• Contribute to the development and interpretation of scientific analyses to provide science and advisory support on the assessment of marine pelagic finfish stocks.
• Contribute to the development and implementation of methods, including models, to assess and forecast pelagic finfish stocks and address questions on recruitment and population dynamics as well as
sustainable fisheries.
• Contribute to the development of spatially explicit methodologies for pelagic fisheries assessments and the application of data limited assessment methods to assess the early life history dynamics of pelagic fish
(e.g., young stages, recruitment indices, egg surveys), in support of fisheries management.
• Contribute to the development and application of statistical and mathematical models, writing of reports, presentation of results for a range of national and international customers, and contribute to scientific
publications of high impact.
• Contribute to the development of pelagic fisheries assessments in the context of ongoing offshore wind farm developments.
• Support delivery in assessment working groups and support advice on fisheries and marine ecosystem management to Cefas, Defra and other national and international bodies within multi-disciplinary
international teams based in the UK or in overseas locations where Cefas has project work.
• Participate in surveys focussing on pelagic stocks, such as the PELTIC survey (southwest of the British Isles), mackerel egg survey, international Atlanto-Scandian herring and blue whiting surveys, etc.


The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

• A scientific background and knowledge in marine ecology and/or biology;
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills; and ability to communicate appropriately and effectively with experts and non-experts alike;
• The ability to work effectively either as part of multi-disciplinary teams or with minimal supervision within a professional working environment;
• Willingness to undertake field work at sea on research vessels;
• Research experience in quantitative marine ecology;
• Understand machine learning approaches;
• Use spatial modelling approaches which could be applicable to fisheries scenarios;
• Effectively present results and support advice on fisheries and marine ecosystem management;
• Have the required skills to present results to a wide range of audience from colleagues and collaborators to customers;
• Competence in writing reports and publications; and
• Undertaking collaborative interactions with other scientific institutes.

Academic qualifications required for this Cefas Pay Band 5 post are a postgraduate science degree with a high level of biological or marine ecology with significant numerical content. Relevant work experience will be accepted.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Data and statistical analysis, modelling approaches which would be applicable for dealing with data gaps e.g., stock assessments.
  • Knowledge and experience in the application of statistical / mathematical methods for data analysis.
  • Provide analysis and interpretation of fisheries and earth observation data, statistical modelling, including data limited assessments.
  • Geospatial analysis and dynamic modelling.
  • Programming in R, and other computer languages such as python or SQL.


• Annual leave entitlement – 25 days on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5yrs)
• Access to learning and development tailored to your role
• A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options
• A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity
• Eligible to join the Civil Service Pension scheme. Very favourable package, contributions are more than matched by employer – more information can be found on the CSP website
• Performance Related Pay scheme – yearly award linked to individual performance
• Staff Recognition vouchers
• In-year recognition scheme (monetary amounts up to max £2000 possible)

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, 3 x 250 word behaviour and 5 x 250 word technical statements.
Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Delivering at Pace. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift and interview dates are to be confirmed. The interviews will be held either via a video link or in person. The interview schedule will be confirmed following sift results.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview.

If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on experience, behaviours, technical skills and strengths.

If scores are equal following interview, an assessment of the lead behaviour, Delivering at Pace will be used by the panel.

You may also be required to give a presentation, complete a short test or provide a case study. You will receive further information to prepare for this if you are invited to interview.

The interview will be undertaken either in person or via Microsoft Teams.

Reserve List
A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

Merit Lists
Where more than one location is advertised, candidates will be posted in merit order by location. You will be asked to state your location preference on your application.

New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.

Reasonable Adjustment
If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

- Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
- Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check
If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading .

Internal Fraud Database Check
Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Childcare Vouchers
Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at here

We are closely monitoring the situation with regard to Coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly for any updates from us as this is how we will communicate with you.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name :  Cally Wiles
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information

ComplaintsIf you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email: If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

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