Senior Marine Scientist

(Full time position based in Newlands, Cape Town)

WWF is the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisation, with over 6 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

WWF South Africa is a national office that is part of the WWF network. We are a local NGO that has worked for 50 years with the aim of inspiring all South Africans to live in harmony with nature, for the benefit of our country and the wellbeing of all our people. WWFs work is for nature, for you.

Our work is challenging and exciting and we love what we do. To join our team, you need to be brilliant at what you do, passionate, results-orientated and have a positive attitude.


WWF South Africa is a solutions-driven organisation that constructively engages with government, companies and individuals to meet our goal of a sustainable future in which people and nature thrive. In over 50 years of conservation work in South Africa, WWF has increasingly played a leading role in changing the attitudes of people, business and government towards the environment which has resulted in tangible and lasting conservation outcomes.

The unsustainable harvest of the world's ocean resources has led to the depletion, and in some cases collapse, of many of the world's major fish stocks. While the outlook for threatened marine ecosystems remains bleak in the face of unsustainable fishing practices, those involved in the seafood industry are realising that by changing the way they conduct business now, the long-term viability of their industry can be ensured. Developing a sustainable seafood industry goes beyond focusing on the individual components of sustainable fishing. It requires a holistic approach, addressing all aspects along the chain of custody from the fisher's hook all the way to the final product delivered to the consumer at their local fish shop or restaurant. The WWF Marine Portfolio is supported by three main pillars of work, namely Small-Scale Fisheries, Seafood Market Transformation linked to commercial fisheries, and Marine Protected Areas, all of which are underpinned by science. Most recently WWF has embarked on the blue economy initiatives that require proper scientific guidance.

WWF's sustainable fisheries approach aims to create a climate for the successful implementation on an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) in South Africa. A key focus of this work revolves around creating market-based incentives for responsible fisheries practices by increasing the market demand for sustainable seafood. At the same time, by identifying sustainability challenges through the WWF-SASSI assessment process and working collaboratively with government and the fisheries sector to address these challenges. Of further importance is that the WWF-SASSI programme, including RSPS and RFA, will be externally reviewed this year and the findings to improve the relevance of programme would need to be implemented together with the WWF-SASSI manager. The Common Assessment Methodology used in the SASSI assessments is also under revision to include socio-economic considerations as per recommendations of the Fish Forward EU project.

In order to achieve its goal of moving fisheries towards responsible and sustainable practices, WWF-SA is seeking to appoint a Senior Marine Scientist. The successful candidate will play a key role in the development of WWF-SA's Seafood Market Transformation Programme and co-ordinate commercial fisheries work and will report to the Senior Manager: Marine Portfolio.

Key Responsibilities

The WWF-SA Senior Marine Scientist will be responsible for the following actions:

  1. Oversee and co-ordinate the WWF-SASSI assessment process including the following:
    • Identify annual list of priority species to be assessed.
    • Conduct key research to underpin WWF-SASSI assessments.
    • Have oversight of and input into the WWF-assessment species assessments, process and protocol.
    • Input scientific expertise into assessments and the assessment methodology
    • Engage with the WWF Global Network on species assessment-related matters.
    • Engage with the WWF Global Network on Common Assessment Methodology (CAM) review and listing.
  2. Provide strategic leadership on the scientific component of WWF-SA marine conservation:
    • Co-lead with the portfolio senior manager on the strategic direction of the WWF marine portfolio fisheries priorities to ensure they align with the relevant WWF-SA strategic outcomes and to the EAF framework.
    • Lead on the technical input during the development of WWF-SA fishery conservation, improvement project and seafood market transformation work plans.
    • Provide ongoing technical guidance on the implementation of WWF-SA fishery conservation and improvement projects.
    • Implement and maintain an effective monitoring and reporting system for the technical components (data management) of WWF-SA marine conservation priorities that supports the WWF-SA M&E and ESSF processes and frameworks
  3. Contribute to a strong partner-based approach to addressing marine conservation and development issues in South African fisheries:
    • Develop fisheries management decision support tools and environmental impact mitigation experiments; and
    • Provide technical input on fisheries related issues with regards to the Responsible Fisheries training programme's content, WWF-SASSI consumer queries and campaigns, WWF-SASSI Retailer/ Supplier Participation Scheme assessments, etc.
  4. Ensure that the WWF-SA Marine Portfolio fisheries-related work is underpinned by credible and up-to-date science:
    • Keep abreast of emerging marine scientific knowledge, issues and policies relating to fisheries, aquaculture, climate change, blue economy, and market-related marine conservation initiatives.
    • Conduct key research in areas that will be of value to the WWF-SA marine strategy and priority focus areas.
    • Together with the junior scientist represent WWF-SA Marine Portfolio on industry bodies such as the Responsible Fisheries Alliance, government Scientific Working Groups, relevant scientific forums and relevant marine related symposia (national and international).
    • Ensure effective linkages with other WWF-SA Portfolios and other relevant organisations working in the marine conservation field (national and international).
    • Contribute to WWF Global Network marine/ocean practices to develop position papers, input into the scientific rigour of the MSC and other seafood certification schemes and collaborate on guidelines for fisheries-related projects (including but not limited to climate changes projects).
    • Work with the WWF Global Network on global issues and projects where relevant
  5. Perform further duties as specified by the WWF-SA Senior Manager: Marine Portfolio including inter alia:
    • Support the WWF-SA's Behaviour Change Lead and Communications team on fisheries related behaviour change projects and communications activities including events, awareness materials, newsletters, websites, media content, etc. to ensure scientific accuracy.
    • When appropriate, act as a representative spokesperson for WWF-SA's fisheries-related work; and
    • Co-contribute to fund-raising efforts to develop WWF-SA's Marine Portfolio work
  6. Team Management: Seafood market transformation, junior conservation scientist and fishery improvement projects:
    • Manage and co-ordinate the implementation of the seafood market transformation, and FIP workplans.
    • Manage seafood market transformation, conservation scientist and FIP staff, including KPA process for the marine scientist, RSPS co-ordinator and FIP co-ordinator.
    • Manage and report on budgets and overall financials for Seafood Market Transformation projects and FIPs.


  • Preferably a PhD in a marine and/or conservation related field (specific knowledge around fisheries science, fisheries stock assessments, fisheries management and conservation will be advantageous).
  • At least 5 years of fisheries-related work experience in multi-disciplinary project research/management, and multi-stakeholder initiatives, and good knowledge of Southern African fisheries legislation would be advantageous.
  • Well-published in both peer-reviewed journals and other forms of publication.
  • The successful candidate must be skilled in communications (written and verbal) with strong scientific report writing skills.
  • Self-motivated, with strong administrative and project management skills.
  • Passion for the conservation of nature and the involvement of people and businesses in the implementation of practical solutions to the challenges facing the marine environment.
  • Be able to build and maintain effective partnership and networks.
  • Collaborative spirit and ability to manage staff, work in team settings across cultures and internally within a diverse institution.
  • Computer literacy, including proficiency in MS Office (MS Word), spread sheets (MS Excel), email (MS Outlook), and presentations (MS PowerPoint).
  • Excellent communication skills in English and proficient in at least one other language, Afrikaans or Xhosa.
  • Valid driver's license and own transportation essential.

Further information:

To apply please click here fill out the application form and provide a detailed CV and cover letter (attach under "Documents") fully motivating the relevant skills, experience and creativity that you can bring, together with the names, current e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of three relevant references.

Applications sent via email will not guarantee consideration.

WWF seeks to promote diversity among its staff. Candidates who have not received a response within three weeks of the closing date are kindly requested to assume that their application has not been successful in this instance. WWF-SA reserves the right not to fill this position.

posted: 16 May 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.