Fisheries Observer

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Closing date: 26 Aug 2018

Reference number



£21,920 - £25,529


Executive Officer
Pay band 4

Contract type


Business area


Type of role

Environment and Sustainability

Working pattern

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


42 (including lunch breaks)

Number of posts



South West

About the job

Job description

You will be a member of a highly committed team of observers, based in various ports throughout England, delivering important scientific work required under European legislation. Your main duties will be to assess the numbers of fish and shellfish, which are retained and discarded onboard English registered fishing vessels during normal commercial fishing operations. You will also be required to undertake biological sampling of fish and shellfish landings at various ports in England. You will work extensively at sea on commercial fishing vessels to schedules determined by the fishing boat skippers (up to around 100 days at sea per year). This work will require travelling and working during unsociable hours and at weekends. A comprehensive training programme will be provided.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

• Adhering to and promoting safety measures in the field and office
• Establishing and maintaining good relations with fishing industry
• Negotiating access to sample fishing vessels
• Carrying out detailed biological catch sampling aboard fishing vessels during normal commercial practice
• Entering data into databases and data checking
• Carrying out detailed biological sampling of fish landings in port
• Managing the timely delivery of data to managers
• Contributing to basic analysis of data and the production of reports
• Providing feedback from the fishing industry to Cefas scientists
• Assisting in fieldwork aboard fishing and research vessels at sea as required
• Participating in other projects for example, fishing gear technology or land and river research as and when necessary
• Project managing activities and programs of work

Note, the list above is not exhaustive and working may be required in various locations and teams.

You will have experience of working on fishing vessels and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. You will be required to go to sea on fishing vessels for up to 2 weeks duration and up to 100 days per year. An additional payment is made at a daily rate while you are at sea. You will be required to travel across England and Wales on a weekly basis.

Minimum Essential:

• Good attention to detail
• Self-motivated and self-reliant with a keenness to meet targets
• Good team worker
• Ability to conduct physical and precise scientific fieldwork at sea
• Ability to follow protocols to consistently record numerical and other data
• Willingness to work unsociable hours, sometimes in difficult environmental conditions
• Full UK/EU driving licence due to weekly travel across England and Wales.
• Basic IT skills (MS Word, Excel, email), including data entry skills
• Knowledge of the fishing industry, the ability to identify different fish species found around the UK


• Experience in marine science research
• Experience in fishing gear technology (e.g. net making)
• Experience in compliance with health and safety practices
• Experience of carrying out fisheries monitoring, either onshore or at sea.

Development Opportunities

A comprehensive observer training programme will be provided.

Opportunity to work on the RV Cefas Endeavour and to be involved in research and development projects, with potential to lead future work packages/ projects.

Person specification

Please demonstrate how your previous experience and skills will enable you to meet the requirements of the job description.


Full UK (or equivalent) driving licence due to weekly travel across England and Wales.


Academic qualifications and experience required for direct entry into Cefas Pay Band 4 are a degree, or equivalent, in a relevant scientific subject and/or equivalent experience working in the fishing industry or a fishing-related commercial qualification. Certain requirements can be waived for candidates who are able to demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge and experience.


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

  • Leading and communicating
  • Collaborating and partnering
  • Making effective decisions
  • Managing a quality service

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using the Civil Service Competency Framework. Guidance on writing competency examples is available: A brief guide to competencies
An initial sift based on competency 1 may be held if a large number of applications are received. If your application progresses to a full sift, all competences will then be considered.

Candidates should note that they may be assessed on relevant experience as well as the listed competencies.

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

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

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 equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

Sift/interview dates and location

Interview dates and locations to be confirmed.

Further information

Cefas is unable to contribute to interview expenses.

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

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.

If 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 at

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