Research Assistant – Conservation Impacts of Bottom Trawl Fisheries

University of British Columbia

Staff – Non Union

Job Category
Non Union Technicians and Research Assistants

Job Profile
Non Union Salaried – Research Assistant /Technician 4

Job Title
Research Assistant – Conservation Impacts of Bottom Trawl Fisheries

Research Foster Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Faculty of Science

Compensation Range
$4,558.75 – $5,354.67 CAD Monthly

Posting End Date
October 15, 2023

Note: Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM on the day prior to the Posting End Date above.

Job End Date

Oct 31, 2024

At UBC, we believe that attracting and sustaining a diverse workforce is key to the successful pursuit of excellence in research, innovation, and learning for all faculty, staff and students. Our commitment to employment equity helps achieve inclusion and fairness, brings rich diversity to UBC as a workplace, and creates the necessary conditions for a rewarding career. 

Project Seahorse (PS) is a leader in marine conservation, making discoveries & collaborating globally to take effective action for seahorses and their seas. The organization is committed to conservation and sustainable use of the world’s coastal marine ecosystems, and has won significant awards for its unusual blend of research and management at scales ranging from community initiatives to international accords. Project Seahorse collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to build capacity for conservation, with a focus on saving seahorses, establishing marine protected areas, limiting problem fisheries and regulating wildlife trade.

A key PS focus is how to constrain nonselective and destructive fishing gears, and particularly bottom trawls. This hugely common form of fishing is devastating for a huge array of marine populations, including for seahorses, and for habitats. Bottom trawlers scour the bottom of the ocean and catch everything in their path, willy nilly. Bottom trawling is also implicated in slavery and indentured labour, and often persists only because of harmful fishing subsidies. There is no place for bottom trawling in a sustainable and equitable ocean future.

Project Seahorse is advancing knowledge of bottom trawling, for greater scientific and public engagement and to drive significant policy change. We seek a senior research assistant to support our efforts.


To support research, management and policy activities related to the Project Seahorse strategic plan and its goal of ending bottom trawl fisheries.


The Research Assistant reports to the PS Program Leader and is guided by collaborative discussion to set priorities. They must balance independence and consultation to ensure that their work supports PS strategic planning and programming. They will work closely with other PS team members based in Canada and internationally, providing guidance and expert knowledge on bottom trawl fisheries. They will also establish long-distance links to collegiate and volunteer groups around the world, to advance mutual engagement on bottom trawl fishery regulation and ocean conservation more generally. Required to attend weekly group meetings.


  • Participates in research on conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associates issues by designing and performing complex studies.
  • Oversees the progress of assigned projects, making recommendation on bottom trawling research workflow improvements.
  • Writes manuscripts, reports and presentations on conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues, including data collection and curation, data analysis and writing, and submission for publication;
  • Provides support to PS graduate students conducting research on conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues;
  • Assists in writing grant applications to support field and desk-based research, policy and management work on conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues;
  • Stays abreast of literature and information about conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues, briefing the PS Director, PS Program Leader, and colleagues on important new developments;
  • Contributes to the development of possible action and interventions in response to conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues at local, regional, national and global levels;
  • Supervises undergraduate students and volunteers to advance PS work on conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues;
  • Contributes to communication materials on conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues;
  • Supports PS Director, PS Program Leader and other team members in logistic and administrative needs;
  • Responds to external queries on research and conservation impacts of bottom trawling and associated issues;
  • Executes other duties as requested.


Exercises a high level of judgment, responsibility, and initiative in determining work procedures and methods, and coordinating Project Seahorse research activities.


The Research Assistant will report to PS Program Leader. They will be required to work independently (with minimal supervision) on agreed tasks and projects, as well as within a team environment.


Undergraduate students (engaged in work-study or independent research projects), interns and volunteers.  Supports graduate students with technical expertise.

Minimum Qualifications
Completion of a university degree in a relevant discipline or technical program and a minimum four years of related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Some positions may require a graduate degree.
– Willingness to respect diverse perspectives, including perspectives in conflict with one’s own

– Demonstrates a commitment to enhancing one’s own awareness, knowledge, and skills related to equity, diversity, and inclusion

Preferred Qualifications


  • Completion of a graduate degree in a relevant discipline, with publications. 
  • Additional experience in related work preferred.   


  • Thorough knowledge of the conservation impacts of fisheries, ideally in bottom trawling
  • Experience in fisheries research and analysis, preferably bottom trawl fisheries
  • Experience in field surveys of fisheries, preferably bottom trawl fisheries


  • A commitment to conservation and sustainable use
  • Strong analytical research skills, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches
  • Ability to write up methods and results in good scientific style
  • Experience with challenging data sets
  • Capacity to work pragmatically to extract key messages relevant to conservation management
  • Robust skills in databases and data management
  • Expertise with key software packages (ArcGiS, R, Excel)
  • Experience with data visualization
  • Demonstrated project management skills – must know how to complete work to deadlines, applying strategic thinking where necessary
  • Must be able to work independently under minimal direction
  • Must be highly organised with great attention to detail
  • Must know how to complete work to deadlines
  • Must be flexible and perform well under pressure
  • Must have good interpersonal skills
  • Competency in the multiple languages would be a great advantage
  • Strong communication skills (written, oral and listening)
  • Must be able to work independently on assigned tasks
  • Must have a positive attitude and be a team player

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