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COAST Student Internships Summer 2019

​​National Marine Fisheries Service

West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division 

Dolphin-Safe Tuna Tracking Internship


Host:  NOAA Fisheries, West Coast Region (WCR) 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 (SFD) oversees the conservation of marine resources and the management of sustainable commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries on the West Coast. SFD’s Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Program works to develop, implement, and evaluate policies and regulations for managing sustainable fisheries for eastern Pacific Ocean species such as Pacific tunas, swordfish, sharks, and billfish.

Location: Long Beach (map)

Internship Dates: June 3 - August 16, 2019; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments and project schedule. 

Stipend: $5,000

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%, the stipend will be pro-rated.

Position Description and Responsibilities: NOAA Fisheries has been involved in dolphin conservation for nearly 50 years, beginning with important scientific research and fishery observer placement in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean tuna purse seine fishery. Various aspects of the dolphin-safe tuna issue have been the most litigated subjects managed by NOAA Fisheries (e.g., this issue has reached the global stage of the World Trade Organization). 

Housed within SFD’s HMS Program, the Tuna Tracking and Verification Program (TTVP) monitors the domestic production and importation of all frozen and/or processed tuna and tuna products nationwide to authenticate associated dolphin-safe claims. The TTVP is the only program recognized by the U.S. government that legally satisfies all applicable federal regulations regarding dolphin-safe certification. TTVP staff work to fulfill the agency’s obligations to implement the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (DPCIA) by monitoring importation and domestic production of tuna products, and tracking compliance of federal regulations. 

One (1) internship is offered during the summer of 2019 to work with NOAA Fisheries TTVP team to track frozen and processed tuna and tuna products for the purposes of ensuring dolphin-safe products in the U.S. market. Duties include leading a large Retail Market Spot Check Audit of tuna products and creating, organizing, and documenting the associated administrative record, including obtaining signatures on work products from top officials in the agency. As time allows, duties will also include reviewing importation and domestic production documentation (e.g., NOAA Form 370 and supporting docs) for compliance, validating and entering fisheries related information of applicable tuna importations in an internal NOAA Fisheries database, and interpreting relevant laws and policies related to the TTVP. A summary report is expected at the completion of the internship. 

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: This internship will require excellent verbal, written, and organizational skills. Intern must have the ability to take initiative and work independently, and operate in a team-oriented setting. Experience with data entry and management (MS Office) is desired. Previous experience 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 verifying, according to U.S. law and regulations, the dolphin-safe status of tuna products. The intern will acquire experience in project and records management while working in collaboration with tuna industry specialists, and gain effective communication skills related to regulatory compliance.

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 project partners, the public, and 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 general eligibility requirements​.​​


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