Senior Specialist, Marine and Estuarine Fish Ecology – Chief Science Directorate – Natural England

Paul Coulson | February 27th 2021

Are you an experienced, marine specialist ready to champion the environment? Do you know your fish? Then we’ve got the job for you!

As Natural England’s marine and estuarine senior fish specialist, you’ll be responsible for providing expert advice on potential impacts and management of the marine environment.

You will contribute to Natural England’s organisation-wide programmes, working effectively across our strategic programmes including Sustainable Development such as offshore renewable energy.

We are looking for an experienced, enthusiastic and energetic professional to be part of a national team of marine and fisheries experts.

If this sounds like you – apply now!


Please note:this post is available as a permanent position or on secondment.


Role description

The Team

The Specialist Services and Programmes team (SSP) is part of the Chief Scientist’s Directorate in Natural England. This Directorate is responsible for Natural England’s Science, Evidence and Evaluation Strategy and support its implementation to ensure Natural England is an evidence-led organisation. The SSP team leads on the development and application of natural, economic and social science and evidence to drive and enable the achievement of environmental outcomes both within Natural England and externally. Our Chief Scientist Directorate is a great place to work with some of the country’s leading environmental scientists and we offer strong support for flexible working and personal development.


The role

Specialist roles underpin Natural England’s position as a science-led organisation. The roles are highly varied, both building the evidence base and applying it to make a real difference to the natural environment. This is a senior role, with a focus on marine and estuarine (including diadromous) fish ecology, operating across Natural England’s strategic programmes. The role will provide specialist technical advice and analysis both externally and internally to support regulatory marine casework including offshore renewable energy, marine protected area management, fisheries management, consultations and strategic solutions. The successful candidate will also be expected to work with colleagues from other teams, government agencies and sector representatives. There is a strong opportunity to play a leading role in working across natural England’s sustainable development agenda to both shape decisions and future reforms.

You will be:

  • Strategic in your thinking and actions.
  • Show innovation and creativity in finding solutions, and encourage team members to do the same in their day-to-day work.
  • Be proactive and self-driven, identifying and exploring opportunities and bringing them to fruition.
  • Role model Natural England’s ways of working.
  • Demonstrate leadership.

Your varied and vital key tasks will include:

  • Interpreting evidence to provide expert, practical advice to regulators, developers, case officers and senior staff to assess and mitigate environmental impacts, whilst seeking environmental enhancement.
  • Providing specialist advice in relation to assessing the impacts of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects upon the natural environment; and working to find practical solutions and mitigate impacts.
  • Analysis and interpretation of a range of complex information relevant to your specialist area and communicating this to others, contributing to the development of strategy and policy.
  • Providing clear and timely evidence-based advice in relation to the protection and monitoring of domestic and European protected sites in relation to development pressures.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date understanding of the relevant evidence base and regularly horizon scanning for emerging issues.
  • Building and analysing the required evidence base, together with highlighting important gaps in our understanding.
  • Providing science and evidence advice and products to ensure that regulatory reform and efficiency initiatives are informed and led by science.
  • Assisting in providing discretionary chargeable advice for developers and licence applicants.
  • Developing guidelines or standing advice to help assess impacts or guide developers or licence applicants.
  • Maintaining a high degree of integrity and expertise at all times and through continued professional development, whilst helping to improve the capability of other staff.
  • Representing Natural England externally as a recognised expert and building relationships and links with key stakeholders, Defra, government bodies and academic institutions.


We are looking for someone with excellent knowledge and experience related to marine and estuarine (including diadromous) fish ecology. In particular, you will:

  • have a relevant degree or equivalent experience
  • have knowledge of the business and the key priorities of Natural England’s fish and marine fisheries work,and to understand the broader context within which this specialism sits, both within and outside Natural England.
  • show knowledge of policies, legislative frameworks and drivers for the marine environment
  • have effective communications skills (verbal and written) in conveying complex and/or difficult messages/concepts to a variety of audiences.
  • Proven track record of managing and delivering advice relating to high risk casework.
  • Experience of working with a wide range of marine stakeholders including developers, Defra family bodies, local authorities, water companies, NGOs and consultancies.


Competency 1 – Marine and Estuarine (including Diadromous) Fish Ecology – Practitioner

  • Excellent specialist technical knowledge and experience related to marine and estuarine (including diadromous) fish ecology, behaviour and population dynamics to inform marine protected area management, marine development casework and fisheries management.
  • be able to apply your technical knowledge with respect to the impact of marine development and use of the seas
  • understand the evidence base, key gaps and preferably have experience of developing and delivering projects to improve the evidence base around marine and migratory fish ecology previously
  • You will have good understanding and experience of monitoring and survey techniques to acquire data on marine and migratory fish populations, including relevant data analysis.
  • Knowledge of current marine evidence & data standards and legislative drivers for handling marine biological data (e.g. NE’s evidence standards, MESH, MEDIN data and metadata standards).

Competency 2 –Putting People at the Heart – Practitioner

  • Work proactively, collaborate, influence and build trusting relationships to identify and secure opportunities to deliver pragmatic outcomes and gains for people and nature
  • strong team working abilities both within and across teams with varied technical disciplines.
  • building both capability in others and in developing professional networks.

Competency –3 Work Delivery

  • The ability to work independently and to show initiative; able to support and challenge others constructively.
  • able to translate complex science and evidence, together with uncertainties and risks, into clear and transparent advice.
  • strong analytical skills, including quantitative and qualitative evidence.
  • See the big picture so you can set your team’s work within the context of the organisation’s vision, mission and aims, and help them understand how their work relates to and supports this.
  • strong organisational skills and the ability to deliver to time and quality, prioritising according to organisational needs.


Additional information

Please apply on the Civil Service Jobs Website here

Closing date: 28 February 2021 at 23:55:00 GMT


Interviews will be held over the phone from 15.-17. March. Candidates invited to interview will be expected to provide a short presentation as part of the interview.