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Fishery Biologist Internship

International Pacific Halibut Commission
Seattle, WA
  • Expired: April 04, 2023. Applications are no longer accepted.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is seeking to hire one (1) undergraduate or recently
graduated intern for Summer 2023 to work at the IPHC Headquarters (HQ) located near Fishermen’s
Terminal in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

Who May Apply: Undergraduate students entering or in their fourth year of study at an accredited
University or College who are majoring in fisheries, marine biology, biology, environmental studies, fisheries
oceanography, or other aquatic or biological-related science OR recent graduates of a qualified
undergraduate bachelor degree program (listed above) who have graduated within the current academic
year (2022/2023).

The Internship Program is designed to provide interns exposure to a variety of tasks associated with the
management of an international fisheries resource. Each intern is assigned a specific research project
that is chosen by the Secretariat and will likely relate to work in the IPHC Biological Laboratory. The intern
will work closely with a supervisor to ensure continuing progress toward work goals and with other staff
members on the various tasks assigned. Note: Due to continuing caution surrounding the COVID-19
virus, field work may be limited.

All hires must possess a valid passport that does not expire within six months of 1 May 2023.

Major duties and responsibilities
Work term may include but is not limited to:

  • Work in the IPHC biological laboratory assisting in efforts to identify the sex of commercially landed Pacific halibut by genotyping.
  • Completing a special research project chosen by the staff.
  • Work in the IPHC age laboratory learning aging techniques, lab protocols, and uses of the final ages.
  • Reporting special project results as a paper and presentation to the Secretariat at the conclusion of the internship.
  • Dockside port sampling on the U.S. West Coast, British Columbia, or Alaska, or field work on an IPHC research vessel.
  •  Assisting the Secretariat with other tasks as assigned.


  1. Applicant must be in (or beginning) fourth year of undergraduate study at an accredited University or College and working towards a degree in aquatic, biological, or environmental related science, OR must have graduated within the 2022/2023 academic year from a qualified program of study as described here.
  2. Applicant will be working with a number of biologists and support personnel throughout the work term, and must possess good communication skills and enthusiasm to perform tasks as assigned. Applicant must be self-motivated and work well with limited supervision.
  3. Must be proficient with MSWord, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook software.
  4. Must be motivated and willing to spend the required time in fishing ports, and perform the normal duties of an IPHC Fisheries Data Specialist (Field), or on a Commission chartered fishery-independent setline survey (FISS) vessel in the open ocean if the work includes these tasks.
  5. A cold-water survival at sea course (scheduled and paid for by the IPHC after hire) must be completed prior to deployment on a research vessel. Basic swimming skills will be needed to successfully complete the course.

Preferred, but not required

  1. Completion of at least one basic statistics course is highly desirable.
  2. Previous experience in a laboratory setting (work or classroom).
  3. Data collection experience in the field (work or classroom).
  4. Previous education and/or experience in fisheries species identification and sampling protocols.

A note about field work
The work term may include sea and/or port duties. These are often the highlight of the internship, but can
also be challenging. At sea, the intern is typically one of three scientific personnel on board a chartered
fishing vessel along with 5-6 professional vessel crew members. All applicants need to be aware that these
vessels are relatively small, ranging in length from about 60 to 90 feet, and quarters tend to be cramped.
Although every individual has his/her own bunk space, the rooms containing the bunks are shared and may
be co-ed. The vessels go to sea for several days at a time without coming to shore and the work at times
can be physically challenging. Being able to lift live fish weighing up to 40 pounds without assistance is a
necessary requirement for sea-duty.

Port work is typically conducted at processing plants located in somewhat remote locations in Alaska, British
Columbia, or the U.S.A. West Coast. Close attention and compliance with plant safety protocols is a must.
Being able to climb/descend ladders and lift 40-pound Pacific halibut without assistance are necessary
requirements for port work.

Salary and work hours
Salary will be paid at IPHC-GS-5.1 which is $3,527/month ($U.S.)
Employment term: May – August (approximately 12 weeks duration – start date negotiable if working
around an academic schedule)

While in Seattle, office hours are Monday through Friday, eight hours per day plus ½ hour for lunch. Field
work may consist of longer or shorter workdays and weekends.

Criminal background check
Employment with the IPHC requires the ability to freely cross the U.S.A./Canada border. All prospective
employees must submit to a criminal background check. A conviction for DUI/DWI, Breaking and Entering,
Assault, Drugs, or Theft may prevent you from crossing the U.S.A./Canada border and this may result in
the IPHC not being able to consider your application.

Obtaining school credit
This internship may serve in the fulfillment of school credit if desired. This must be arranged by the student
in advance in which case the student’s IPHC supervisor will work with the student and the school to
complete assessments or other requirements as needed.

**All applications must be submitted online through the link on the IPHC webpage.

Materials required for application:

  1. Letter of introduction explaining why you wish to work for the IPHC and what you can offer, what you hope to gain from the experience and how this internship fits into your academic program of study and/or future goals;
  2. Resume complete with at least three listed references (must provide e-mail addresses) who can speak to your ability to complete projects and/or interpersonal skills. Letters of recommendation are also acceptable;
  3. Copy of college transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient.

**Upload your documents to the application portal where indicated. If necessary, you can also e-mail
additional documents to the portal.

Individuals from underrepresented groups (e.g. underrepresented races, genders, sexual orientations and
abilities) as well as those that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion are encouraged to apply.

All completed applications received no later than 7 AM (PST) on Monday, 3 April 2023 will be considered.
A short list of candidates will be compiled, and those applicants will be contacted for interviews. Interviews
will be conducted via remote meeting or over the phone. Selection will be made no later than 1 May. All
applicants will be notified of application status. If you have any questions, please contact:

206-634-1838 X7677

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International Pacific Halibut Commission


Seattle, WA
98199 USA