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Fisheries Onshore Observers

Posted: 12 Nov 2019 Closes: 27 Nov 2019
South West Hayle/ Plymouth £19,067 - £20,890
Permanent & Full-time defra/20191112181553

You will be a member of a highly motivated and committed team of observers who are based in ports throughout England, delivering important scientific work required under European legislation. Your main duties will be to undertake biological sampling of landings (primarily fish and shellfish age and length data) in various ports across England and Wales.

Whilst the successful applicant will be based in the South West offices there will be opportunities to work elsewhere. This work will require significant travel and working during unsocial hours and potentially at weekends. The role will also give the opportunity to progress to sampling at sea on commercial vessels. A comprehensive training programme will be provided.

Main duties will include:

• Planning and undertaking detailed biological sampling of fish/shellfish landings at fishing ports across England

• Obtaining otoliths and scales from fish samples

• Adhering to and promoting safety measures in the field and office

• Establishing and maintaining good relations and communication with fishing industry

• Entering data into databases, data checking and QC

• Managing the timely delivery of data to managers

• A view to progress to biological catch sampling aboard fishing vessels during normal commercial practice. (Going to sea on commercial fishing vessels for up to 2 weeks duration and up to approx. 80 days per year. An additional payment is made at a daily rate while you are at sea)

• Assisting in fieldwork aboard commercial fishing vessels and research vessels at sea where necessary

• Participate in other projects as required for example, fishing gear technology

• Contributing to basic analysis of data and the production of reports


We are looking for someone that has the following skills and experience:

• Knowledge of the fishing industry, the ability to identify different fish species found around
the UK

• Good interpersonal communication skills both verbal and written

• Self-motivated and self-reliant with a keenness to meet targets

• Willingness to work unsociable hours, sometimes in difficult environmental conditions

• Ability to conduct physical and precise scientific fieldwork onshore and at sea with good attention to detail

• Ability to follow protocols to consistently record numerical and other data

• Experience of working at sea, on commercial fishing vessels in different sea conditions

• Knowledge of vessel safety

• Valid driving licence appropriate for vehicle to be driven


Valid driving licence appropriate for vehicle to be driven.


Academic qualifications required for direct entry to this Cefas Pay Band 3 post are two A-levels preferably including a biological science, or equivalent BTEC or NVQ level 3.


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:

  • Strong IT skills, including but not limited to all Microsoft Office programmes.
  • Data entry and quality assurance skills, including working with databases.



• 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

• 25 days annual leave + 1 day per year up to 30 days

• A civil service pension.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

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.

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV.
Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.

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

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 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 circumstance 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.

Any move to Defra will mean you will no longer be able to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

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:

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.

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.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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