• Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • GMail
  • \n
    ","datePosted":"2023-11-01T12:41:41.392Z","validThrough":"2023-11-30","employmentType":[],"hiringOrganization":{"@type":"Organization","name":"Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)","description":"Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) is an internationally renowned aquatic scientific research and consultancy centre. We aim to be the prime source of high quality science used to conserve and enhance the aquatic environment, promote sustainable management of its natural resources, and protect the public from aquatic contaminants. On this site you can find out about our wide range of activities. We provide research, advisory, consultancy, monitoring and training services to a large number of clients worldwide. We have a huge range of resources and expertise, with more than 500 staff based in 2 UK laboratories, our own ocean-going research vessel, and over 100 years of experience.","numberOfEmployees":725,"address":[{"address":{"@type":"PostalAddress","addressLocality":"plymouth, uk"}}],"sameAs":"https://cefas.co.uk","url":"https://cefas.co.uk","logo":"https://cdn.getro.com/companies/413a9256-0fd3-5ad3-9314-47bc4eabe7be","memberOf":{"@type":"Organization","name":"Schmidt Marine","description":"Schmidt Marine created the Ocean Job Board to help drive ocean conservation forward by providing access to top jobs across the community. \r\n\r\nThe board links directly to the career pages of ocean-related organizations. It updates automatically when jobs are posted or taken down. PLEASE NOTE: Job links go directly to the organization’s page. Schmidt Marine does not have any additional information about any of these positions.\r\n\r\nThere is no charge for inclusion on this page. To add or remove your organization, or ask a question, please email us at jobboard@schmidtmarine.org”","logo":"https://cdn.filestackcontent.com/jLhf7Db0SHK884Tk79uJ","url":"jobs.schmidtmarine.org"},"keywords":"Agriculture and Farming, Food, Government and Military, Information Technology"},"jobLocation":{"@type":"Place","address":{"@type":"PostalAddress","addressLocality":"plymouth, uk"}}}

    Fisheries Observer

    Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

    Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

    plymouth, uk
    Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2023


    Hayle, Plymouth

    Job summary

    You will be a member of a highly motivated and committed team of observers who are based at port offices throughout England, delivering important scientific work required under UK legislation. 

    Your main duties will be to record the numbers of fish and shellfish which are retained and discarded onboard English registered fishing vessels during normal commercial fishing operations. Access to fishing vessels is on a voluntary basis and you will be required to negotiate access with vessel operators. You will also be required to undertake biological sampling of fish and shellfish landings at various ports in England. You will work regularly at sea on commercial fishing vessels, sailing from various ports to schedules determined by the fishing boat skippers (typically 50-80 days at sea per year with scope for more), and with shore-based industry sectors, such as fish markets and merchants. This work will require significant travel and regular lone working during unsocial hours, at weekends and at short notice. A flexible approach to working is essential. Additional payments are made for work undertaken at sea and during unsociable hours.

    A comprehensive training programme will be provided. Once competent, and sampling effectively without supervision, the successful applicant will be expected to provide training for new staff. During your training period you will be required to pass an ENG1 medical and complete basic sea safety training.

    Cefas is proud of a diverse and inclusive work environment, committed to fairness and the promotion of equality of opportunity for all. We know that having a range of experiences, backgrounds, ways of working and thinking, makes us a stronger organisation, better at reflecting the communities we serve. We embrace different views and experiences and value the fresh perspective that people from a variety of circumstances bring to the work we do. We welcome applications from candidates who have not previously worked for the Civil Service, mid- and late-career changers with transferable skills, people from all backgrounds and circumstances regardless of disability, gender, age, ethnicity, LGBT+ identity and socio-economic status.

    Job description

    Your main duties and responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

    • Establishing and maintaining good relations with the fishing industry
    • Negotiating access to sample fishing vessels 
    • Planning and undertaking regular sampling trips (duration 1 to 8 days) onboard commercial fishing vessels, sailing from ports across England
    • Carrying out catch sampling at sea, during normal commercial practice, to estimate quantities of discarded and retained catch
    • 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
    • Entering data into databases, data checking and QC and timely delivery of data to end users
    • Participate in other projects as required e.g., fishing gear technology 
    • Assisting in fisheries surveys aboard commercial fishing vessels and research vessels where necessary
    • Contributing to production of reports

    In addition, Cefas reserves the right to ask staff to take on additional duties and responsibilities which are commensurate with their grade. Team Leaders and management will have a discussion with staff to explain the changes that are to be made. A new job description will be issued if required.

    Person specification

    Applicants should be highly motivated, target driven individuals with good communications skills, both verbal and written. A keen interest in collecting good fisheries data is essential as the job can be challenging at times. As this role must work around the fishing industry, both onshore and at sea, applicants must be willing to work unsociable hours and weekends. You will be required to travel across England and Wales on a weekly basis using a pool van.

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

    • Knowledge of the UK fishing industry 
    • Experience of working at sea, in different sea conditions, ideally on commercial fishing vessels
    • Willingness and ability to work flexibly at unsociable hours, in challenging weather and environmental conditions, and without supervision
    • Ability to conduct physical and precise scientific fieldwork at sea and on land with good attention to detail
    • Knowledge and a keen awareness of health and safety, with specific experience of safety at sea and vessel safety
    • Ability to follow protocols and procedures to consistently and accurately record numerical and other data
    • Ability to identify different fish species found in UK waters
    • Self-motivated and self-reliant with a keenness to meet targets
    • Good IT skills, experience of data entry into databases and undertaking data quality assurance checks
    • Academic qualifications required are a degree in a scientific subject and/or relevant experience of working within the fishing industry


    Full driving licence (valid for driving in the UK)

    Technical skills

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

    • Experience of working at sea (Lead technical skill)
    • Ability to identify UK fish species of commercial importance
    • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of representative sampling and subsampling techniques
    • Knowledge of fishing vessels and/or gear types

    We only ask for evidence of these technical skills on your application form:

    • Experience of working at sea (Lead technical skill)
    Alongside your salary of £25,915, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science contributes £6,997 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.
    • Generous annual leave entitlement - Cefas offers 25 days' annul leave on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5yrs) for full-time new entrants to the Civil Service. Employees receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day to mark the late Queen's birthday 
    • 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 - more information can be found on the CSP website Home - Civil Service Pension Scheme 
    • Staff recognition vouchers
    • In-year award scheme

    Selection process details

    This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Experience and Technical skills.

    Application Process  
    As part of the application process you are asked to provide a CV (job history, qualifications, past skills and experience), a 750-word personal statement on how you meet the essential criteria as stated in the person specification section, and a 250-word statement on how you meet the lead technical skill 'Experience of working at sea'.

    Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

    • For guidance on Civil Service Success Profiles, this video tells you what you’ll need to provide throughout the assessment process with supporting guidance on each step. Link – Success Profiles
    • For guidance on how to construct your CV, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Link - CV
    • For guidance on how to construct your personal statement, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Link – Statement


    The sift panel will use the information in your CV and personal statement to assess your experience and how you meet the essential criteria as stated in the person specification section. The sift panel will also assess the lead technical skill - 'Experience of working at sea'. 

    Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead technical skill - 'Experience of working at sea'.  Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift or, progressed straight to assessment/interview. 

    Interview schedule and details will be confirmed on release of the sift results.


    If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on your Experience and the four advertised technical skills. Assessment of the technical skills will consist of a short test or scenario. You may also be required to give a presentation but will receive further information to prepare for this if you are invited to interview.
    Please be aware that at this time, interviews may take place in person. 

    If scores are equal following interview, an assessment of the lead technical skill - 'experience of working at sea' will be used by the panel.

    A date has not yet been confirmed for the interviews to take place.  


    Please be aware that this role will be contractually based at Hayle or Plymouth. 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.

    Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to a base office location.

    Blended Working

    Cefas operates a blended working policy subject to business need, giving people the flexibility to choose when and where they work and collaborate with others.

    Our staff are expected to work the office/lab location in Lowestoft/Weymouth/Plymouth etc.., as required by their role and business team needs. There is flexibility to split the working week, spending a minimum of one day in the workplace

    Reserve List

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


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

    There is a pay award pending as Cefas is yet to finalise and implement the Civil Service Pay Remit 2023/2024 - Civil Service Pay Remit Guidance, 2023 to 2024 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    Visa Sponsorship Statement

    Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

    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 defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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 may be 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 Pre-EmploymentChecks.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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 https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

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


    Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
    People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

    Nationality requirements

    This job is broadly open to the following groups:

    • UK nationals
    • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
    • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
    • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
    • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
    • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
    • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
    Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

    Working for the Civil Service

    The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window).
    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.
    The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
    This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
    The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).
    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 : Clare Avieson
    • Email : resourcing@cefas.co.uk

    Recruitment team

    • Email : defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

    Further information

    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: defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

    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.

    Share this page