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COAST Student Internships Summer 2017

​​National Marine Fisheries Service

West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division 

Sustainable Fisheries Internship


Host:  National Marine Fisheries Service West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division 

The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, fisheries management, enforcement, and habitat conservation. The Sustainable Fisheries Division’s Highly Migratory Species Program works to develop, implement, and evaluate policies and regulations for managing sustainable fisheries for eastern Pacific Ocean species such as Pacific tunas,​​ sharks, and billfish. Because highly migratory species are found throughout the Pacific Ocean and cross jurisdictional boundaries, this program engages stakeholders and governmental groups in the management of these species at both domestic and international levels. 

Location: Long Beach

Internship Dates: June 5 - August 18, 2017; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments and project schedule. 

Stipend: $5,000 (contingent upon federal funding)​

Time Commitment: The internship is a full-time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation, or illness. If participation is less than 100 percent, the stipend will be pro-rated.

Position Description and Responsibilities: While many fish species in the world’s oceans are coastal in nature, those that migrate thousands of miles create a unique management challenge.  Specifically, due to the transboundary nature of tunas, many nations have shared interests in these fish stocks. In response, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have been formed through treaties and international agreements so that these nations can work together to manage fish stocks across jurisdictional borders. 

The Highly Migratory Species Branch of NMFS West Coast Region primarily works with the RFMO of the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO): the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). The IATTC is the longest standing RFMO (established in 1949) and has 21 member countries. The member countries of the IATTC meet every year (and sometimes multiple times a year) to develop and agree on Resolutions for how to collectively manage fisheries for tuna and tuna-like species in the EPO. Currently, there are more than 50 active Resolutions​ ranging in topics. For reference, some Resolutions of interest at the moment include: 

-Measures for the Conservation and Management of Pacific Bluefin Tuna

-​​​​​The Collection and Analyses of Data on Fish-Aggregating Devices (FADs)

-​​​​​Harvest Control Rules for Tropical Tunas (Yellowfin, Bigeye, and Skipjack Tunas)

-​​​​​​Conservation Measures for Shark Species, With Special Emphasis on the Silky Shark


​Many of these resolutions, regardless of subject matter, contain requirements for member nations to submit data to the IATTC to verify compliance with the Resolutions and to aid the development of future Resolutions.

One (1) internship is offered during the summer of 2017 to work with NMFS staff to review all current IATTC data submission requirements for the purpose of improving the system by which the U.S. manages them. After becoming familiar with the Resolutions and the associated data submissions, the intern will be expected to 1) present their ideas for improving and updating the existing database used to track U.S. data submissions, and 2) write a report identifying areas in which the efficiency of U.S. data submissions can be improved. Working with NMFS staff, the intern will be expected to implement agreed upon updates and improvements to the existing database and develop tools for improving efficiencies in doing so. Such tools could include developing templates, timelines, and/or instructions. The completion of this work will help the U.S. meet international obligations and ensure its compliance with international agreements.

If time allows and the intern is interested, the student could expand the impact of their work to international policy. Building off of key issues identified in the student’s review and written report, the student could work with NMFS managers and scientists involved in data submissions to develop a strategy or draft a U.S. proposal for the IATTC. For example, the strategy or proposal could seek to eliminate redundant data requirements, inconvenient deadlines, and/or collection of data that lack utility. This deliverable could be used by the U.S. delegation to the IATTC to effect changes and improve efficiencies in international fisheries management. 

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: This internship will require excellent research, verbal, written, and organizational skills. Intern must have the ability to take initiative and work independently on a project, yet participate in a team-oriented process to develop work products. Experience with MS Office and Google Drive is desired. Previous experience with writing or analyzing policy and/or regulatory decisions, or working on fisheries management and conservation issues is a plus. 

Skills Gained: The intern will gain perspective on the confluence of science, management, and policy issues related to sustainable fisheries in an international context. Specifically, the intern will acquire experience in project management while working in collaboration with professional fishery scientists and managers. The intern will contribute to the development of materials to assist staff in managing international commitments as well as tools to improve upon them. 

Eligibility/Requirements: The internship is intended for upperclassmen (juniors/seniors) and graduate students seeking STEM or STEM related degrees. A valid driver’s license is required. Intern must be 18 years or older. Applicants must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with the project partners, the public, researchers, and other NOAA Fisheries staff. Interns must be able to keep excellent notes and organize various streams of information into a coordinated action plan. A Federal background investigation, to include fingerprints and character references, is required. Applicants are also subject to additional eligibility and requirements that can be found here​.​​


Return to Announcement for Application and Additional Requirements