Shark and Ray Research Assistant


WCS is now seeking a dynamic individual with knowledge of marine conservation issues in Papua New Guinea to provide support for its marine conservation program.

WCS is now seeking a dynamic and experienced individual with knowledge of marine conservation issues in Papua New Guinea to provide support for its marine conservation programme in Papua New Guinea. The position requires marine biology expertise as well as reporting and data analysis experience, communication and community engagement skills, and a genuine commitment to the mission of WCS. The position is based in Kavieng, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea.

Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS is the longest established international non-government conservation organisation within Papua New Guinea (PNG). At key and representative landscapes and seascapes, from the country’s coral islands to its forested highlands, WCS works with local communities and provincial, national and international partners, to sustainably manage and conserve the biodiversity and cultural values of PNG’s wildlife and wild places. The WCS Papua New Guinea program employs 28 full time staff as well as 56 part-time community facilitators based at project sites. Offices include our headquarters in Goroka, a policy office in Port Moresby and field offices in New Ireland and Manus. We implement and administer a large number of projects funded by government and private donors, focusing on climate change adaptation and mitigation, forest and coral reef protection, species conservation, and sustainable harvesting of both terrestrial and marine resources. As our vision highlights “Gutpela sindaun, gutpela bus, gutpela solwara (Empowered people with healthy forests and seas)”, working with local communities is at the forefront of WCS’s approach as we believe the involvement of local people is essential for the long-term success of any conservation project in the country. Conservation science is another pillar of WCS’s approach. It underpins all aspects of WCS’s work, from studying the ecology of key species to landscape- and seascape-level analyses of conservation priorities.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Collect and enter fisher’s knowledge survey data and other biological, fisheries and socioeconomic data
  • Conduct academic research (focused on sharks and rays, and especially sawfish, wedgefish and guitarfish), and reach out to regional shark and ray experts for further information (and potential collaboration);
  • Assist the marine team staff with the production of reports – which could include potential opportunities for publishing work in academic journals;
  • Help produce and present tailored education, outreach and awareness materials, based on sharks and rays and their management, for communities, government and other stakeholders;
  • Repatriate shark and ray assessment results back to communities;
  • Undertake broad-scale stakeholder consultation with community leaders, government and industry partners, including the New Ireland Provincial Government, Provincial Fisheries Authority, National Fisheries Authority, National Fisheries College, local NGOs, and church groups;
  • Learn new data collection procedures, including eDNA and the use of baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS)
  • Work closely with the Marine Conservation Advisor, Senior Marine Biologist and Research Assistant to complete deliverables on time.

Qualifications and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in marine science, fisheries science, coastal zone management, marine resource management or marine conservation;
  • Have sound knowledge of marine ecology, resource management and coastal zone management, including locally managed marine areas and marine spatial planning;
  • Competent with using Microsoft Office, conducting data analysis – especially with large datasets – and writing high quality reports within strict deadlines;
  • Organised and able to plan ahead;
  • Have experience with the use of BRUVS and eDNA (desired) – or keen to learn about these methods;
  • A team player and good communicator – willing to listen and adapt to changing circumstances – and yet quick thinking and able to work independently;
  • Good communication and presentation skills, vital;
  • Strong verbal and written skills in English and Tok Pisin;
  • Have examples of published work – or contributions to published work – (such as academic papers or reports) preferred;
  • Licenced driver preferred.

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