Spatial Fisheries Mgmt Modeling Support

Ocean Associates

Ocean Associates

Customer Service
Seattle, WA, USA
Posted on Thursday, May 9, 2024

Spatial Fisheries Management Modeling Support

If you are unable to complete this application due to a disability, contact Ocean Associates at 703-388-9548 to ask for an accommodation or an alternative application process.

Ocean Associates Inc. (OAI) is seeking an applicant to provide Spatial Fisheries Management Modeling support to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), Conservation Biology (CB) Division in Seattle, WA. OAI is a Virginia corporation established in 2003 that provides consulting and technical services to the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the private sector. We specialize in scientific program and project management, strategic planning, professional and technical services, and stakeholder engagement, supporting government contracts.


NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the conservation and management of our Nation’s living marine resources and their habitats. By developing high quality science and supporting an ecosystem-based approach to management, NMFS provides important services to the Nation, including sustainable fisheries, healthy ecosystems, safe seafood, and protected species recovery. In the Pacific Northwest Region of the US, the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) provides science in support of managing living marine resources along the US West Coast, including those that use interior watersheds that support anadromous fish such as salmon and steelhead.

The development of the offshore wind energy sector promises to create an entirely new use of the ocean and coastal ports along the US West Coast. The Federal government and the states of California and Oregon are pursuing an ambitious schedule for development of offshore wind. The Biden-Harris Administration set a goal of tackling the climate crisis by deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy nationwide by 2030 “while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use”, and this is intended to be a pathway to developing 110 gigawatts by 2050.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead federal agency for offshore energy development and leasing. BOEM seeks consultation from NMFS under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act or MSA) for essential fish habitat. Developers seek incidental take authorizations from NMFS under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Given their unique expertise in fisheries, living marine resources and their habitats, and the ecosystems in which they live, NMFS also may review and provide comments on potential impacts to our trust resources included in BOEM’s Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Development of the offshore wind energy sector creates the need for a unique set of scientific research objectives to support NMFS’ management mandates and inform responsible and sustainable development of this new ocean-use sector. One of the groups best poised to support this research is the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (CCIEA), an interdisciplinary research effort led by NMFS and fueled by many staff at NWFSC. The CCIEA program’s goal is to provide science support for ecosystem-based management of the California Current, the productive large marine ecosystem along the US West Coast. Because the effects of offshore wind development will change over time, cross-cut multiple sectors, and span the full social-ecological system there is a need for strategic, ecosystem-scale science to inform decision makers and proactively deconflict ocean uses. The CCIEA provides a framework and delivery system for co-developed, integrative science products to inform management decisions that intersect ocean-use communities.

At NMFS, a major question emerging from offshore wind development is: how will the population dynamics of commercial fisheries species change due to fisheries closures associated with wind energy areas? More to the point, there is concern about how changes in population and ecosystem dynamics caused by wind energy development will affect the reliability of decision support tools such as stock assessments, which underpin harvest advice to fisheries managers. The focus of this position is to address these questions and concerns by improving knowledge around how offshore wind (OSW) development will affect fisheries stocks and ecosystem dynamics, including fisheries and fishing communities.


The scope of this work is to lead activities and development of products that will improve our understanding of how offshore wind (OSW) development will affect fisheries stocks, in collaboration with CCIEA scientists. These activities and deliverables should result in better service to the public through analyses that inform stock assessments and harvest management advice. Focal activities will include: 1) identifying species most likely to be affected by OSW development through the displacement of commercial fishing; 2) developing population, multispecies and/or ecosystem models for species-of-interest; 3) developing spatial scenarios of current and likely areas for OSW development across the U.S. West Coast; and 4) simulating population, multi-species and/or ecosystem dynamics using the OSW development scenarios to identify how, and at what spatial scale, species’ demographic parameters may change as a result of newly-closed fishing grounds. Parameters or measures of interest will likely include density, abundance, size- and age-structure, which are all important data used to inform and conduct NMFS stock assessments.

The main objective of this project is to lead development of an analytical framework to assess potential impacts to NMFS stock assessments and the rest of the ecosystem that could arise due to the displacement of commercial fishing effort from areas being developed by new ocean-use sectors such as OSW. This framework will enable more informed advice on the impacts of OSW development to NMFS stock assessments, commercially-important species and species interactions. This scientific advice will contribute to the responsible and sustainable development of OSW and other ocean-use sectors in the future, while simultaneously ensuring current fisheries management advice is well-informed of the potential risks of future spatial management scenarios.


Task 1: Identify species of interest.

  1. Organize discussion with CCIEA and NMFS stock assessment biologists on which species would most likely experience demographic changes due to displacement of commercial fishing effort in and around OSW development areas.
  2. Narrow species list to subset compatible with selected models chosen in Task Two.
  3. Discuss and identify parameters of interest for reporting results.

Task 2: Develop population, multi-species and/or ecosystem models.

  1. Review spatial fisheries management (e.g., marine protected area) literature for best-practices analyses and models capable of identifying changes in species’ population demographics inside and outside areas closed to extractive activities, such as fishing.
  2. Organize discussion with CCIEA team to finalize selected model(s).
  3. Lead and coordinate development of population, multi-species and/or ecosystem models.

Task 3: develop spatial scenarios of OSW development.

  1. Create spatial data layers that include all known West Coast BOEM lease areas and estimated energy to be derived from each area (in order to anticipate additional lease areas that may be needed in the future to meet state and federal OSW goals).
  2. In collaboration with the NMFS West Coast Offshore Wind Energy Coordination (OWEC) team, identify areas across the US West Coast that will most likely be areas of future OSW development.
  3. In collaboration with the NMFS West Coast Offshore Wind Energy Coordination (OWEC) and CCIEA teams, create scenarios of OSW development based on results from Tasks 3.1 and 3.2 and state and federal goals and timelines (i.e., < stated federal and state goals, equal to goals, or > goals).
  4. If timing allows, consider spatial-closure scenarios that vary substantially in spatial coverage and configuration across the U.S. West Coast in order to understand the magnitude and spatial arrangement of development that would be required to alter population demographics or ecosystem dynamics.

Task 4: Simulate and report model dynamics using the OSW development scenarios.

  1. Simulate model dynamics across scenarios from Task 3.
  2. Summarize prioritized demographic parameters for species-of-interest across each OSW scenario.
  3. In collaboration with the CCIEA team and NWFSC stock assessment biologists, develop final figures and text for a manuscript reporting the results.


Deliverables shall relate to the above tasks and will include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

  1. Develop a prioritized list of targeted fisheries species or other ecologically-important species according to the importance of understanding how OSW will affect their demographics.
  2. Organize and summarize the pros and cons of various models that can be used to identify changes in demographic parameters related to the displacement of fishing effort inside and outside closed areas.
  3. Develop well-documented and shareable code for selected models.
  4. Develop metadata and spatial data layer files that organize the identified OSW development scenarios.
  5. Produce a manuscript that summarizes the results of the selected model(s) under each OSW development scenario.

Start Date: As soon as possible.

Location: Northwest Fisheries Science Center Seattle, WA. Remote work will be considered for the right candidate, but periodic on site, in person, work may be needed.

Travel: Travel is anticipated and authorized for this order. Domestic travel may be required for regional meetings and conferences to discuss and present project related work and objectives.

Salary and Benefits: This is a full-time position with benefits. Salary, commensurate with experience, between $34.00 - $38.00 per hour.


Applicants must have the following minimum requirements:

  • PhD degree from an accredited college or university with a major directly related in a field of study as related to the requirements of this position with emphasis in marine science, fisheries, quantitative ecology, oceanography, data science, or similar fields; or, equivalent relevant experience.
  • Demonstrated proficiency and experience with data management and statistical analysis, with statistical software such as R, MATLAB, etc. and/or programming languages such as Python.
  • Demonstrated proficiency and experience working with and developing spatial population, multi-species, or ecosystem modeling frameworks.
  • Demonstrated proficiency and experience working with spatial software tools such as GIS or spatial packages in R.
  • Good communication, coordination, and collaboration skills, and a willingness to learn new skills, update existing skills, and share skills with colleagues in the CCIEA team.
  • Basic computer skills (MS Office, etc.).
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work effectively both individually and collaboratively in a team/group setting.
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback and implement appropriate action.

If you are interested in being considered for this position, please APPLY THROUGH OUR ADP WEB PORTAL, AT THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.

Only qualified applicants that meet minimum experience or background requirements stated above need apply. When applying for this position you will be asked to upload your resume at the end of this online application.

Applicants should submit a resume that includes the following:

  • Cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the required and preferred qualifications listed.
  • Work history for past 10 years or since last full-time education.
  • Education.
  • Previous experience or training with similar requirements.
  • Three professional references.
  • Include your name in the document file name.
  • Upload your resume in readable, not scanned, PDF or Word format (PDF is preferred).

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States, complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire, and successfully complete a federal government background check. Ocean Associates Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law.

OAI is a government contractor and is required by law to invite applicants to self-identify their race, gender, national origin, disability status and veteran status. OAI is required to use the information it collects as part of its future affirmative action efforts in hiring. The information is collected anonymously by computer and is not connected to your application. You will see a place to check certain boxes in OAI's online application. Even though the information is anonymous, self-identification is voluntary. You can always check the box that says you decline to self-identify.

Note: If you are not selected, your materials may be retained for present or future opportunities. We may use your resume in bidding on a project and if we are awarded the work, we will contact you before seeking further applicants. If you do not wish us to retain or use your resume to seek work for you, please let us know in the "Notes" section on the second page of the online application.