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5 May 2022

Part-Time Hawaiian Marine Wildlife Recovery Support

Ocean Associates Inc. – Posted by oai1 Maui County, Hawaii, United States

Job Description



Ocean Associates, Inc. (OAI) is seeking Hawaiian marine wildlife response support at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) Protected Resources Division (PRD). OAI conducts research, offers policy advice, and provides personnel support services to government and industry clients for marine fisheries and protected species.   


Among its many responsibilities, PRD coordinates responses to strandings of marine mammals and sea turtles (collectively referred to herein as “marine wildlife”) in the main Hawaiian Islands, in partnership with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and numerous government agencies and non‐government organizations. A “stranding” means an animal is injured, sick, dead, outside of its normal habitat, or otherwise unable to survive in the wild. The services needed will support stranding responses to live and dead animals in the field and in NOAA facilities on Maui, and to assist with associated data collection, data management, and administrative support.

In an average year, PRD coordinates responses to approximately 40 marine mammal (cetacean and monk seal) strandings and hundreds of sea turtles strandings in the main Hawaiian Islands. Stranding responses entail receiving and documenting reports via PRD’s state‐wide marine wildlife hotline and dispatching personnel to provide care for live animals and retrieve the carcasses of deceased animals. When carcasses are retrieved, we try, whenever possible, to determine cause of death and gather other important information.

To determine the cause of stranding deaths, authorized network members conduct post‐mortem exams, which include a necropsy (animal autopsy) and tissue sampling and analysis. In addition to helping to determine the cause of death, conducting a necropsy can provide essential information about Hawaii’s marine wildlife populations, local ecosystem health, and occurrence of common and unusual diseases that may affect marine species and even humans. Cause of death investigations can also help identify signs of human interaction, such as foreign body ingestion, entanglement, acoustic impacts, and intentional killings.

In addition to responding to true stranding events, PRD devotes significant effort to coordinating responses to “haul outs” of Hawaiian monk seals. Monk seals haul out on the shoreline to rest, often for several hours per day. Haul out responses begin with receiving the initial report via the state‐wide hotline and gathering information from the reporting party to assess what level of response is needed. When monk seals haul out on shorelines used heavily by people, PRD and partners dispatch staff or volunteers to ensure the seal is not stranded and to conduct outreach to reduce the chances of seal disturbance and promote public safety. In some cases, monk seal haul out responses also entail erecting a temporary cordon and/or temporary signage around the seal. During haul out responses, network members also attempt to determine the seal’s identification number, which is assigned to almost every seal born in the main Hawaiian Islands and which is used to track seal population trends. PRD’s response network devotes much of its time and resources to monk seal response. For instance, on a busy day, our Kauai or Oahu response teams can receive and process dozens of haul out reports.

In addition to the activities directly associated with stranding response discussed above, PRD’s response team also conducts public outreach and community engagement activities to raise public awareness and promote responsible wildlife viewing and ocean use. These activities include staffing educational activity booths at community fairs and fishing tournaments, and distributing educational materials and “talking story” with beach goers and fishermen at popular ocean use and fishing areas. 


  • Receive response reports from the marine wildlife response hotline or other sources (such as police, state agencies, etc.) and conduct an initial assessment and/or dispatch staff and volunteers to conduct an initial assessment.
  • Conduct stranding response activities (after initial assessment), including extraction and transport of deceased animals; securing a scene and providing initial support to live animals until veterinary or agency partner staff arrive; photo documentation and data collection; on‐ scene monitoring and communicating status updates to NMFS staff; and providing on‐ scene and remote support for the NMFS response staff and the University of Hawaii (UH) Stranding team.
  • Coordinate logistics and assist in post mortem procedures, including post mortem exams, data and sample collection, processing, and storage; and carcass transport, processing, cold storage, and disposal (e.g., cremation or burial) in coordination with or under the guidance of NOAA or authorized designee.
  • Compile, enter, and manage stranding response data, including completion of Level A stranding data forms and entering stranding data into NOAA’s online stranding data management systems (regional and national); compiling Hawaiian monk seal sightings data and entering into NOAA’s online monk seal data system; describing and entering data regarding monk seal behaviors, locations, and human‐seal interaction incidents.
  • Coordinate, plan, schedule, and attend meetings and trainings with the response network members, volunteers, partner agency and organization staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Assist with tracking, inventory, and distribution of response equipment and supplies.
  • Conduct and coordinate public education and outreach activities, such as classroom presentations in local schools and informational booths at community events, using NMFS‐ approved information and materials as appropriate. Identify and coordinate communications with key stakeholder groups, such ocean tour companies, regarding marine wildlife interactions and strandings. 

Location: Field sites in and around Maui, Hawaii. Travel is anticipated.

Start Date: January 5, 2021.

Schedule: This is a part-time (~12 hours per week) and on-call position.  The schedule is not tied to specific operational hours. Because of the unpredictable nature of marine wildlife stranding events, much of the work cannot be scheduled in advance. This position will provide stranding response and postmortem exam services on an “on-call” basis, up to and including 7 days per week, from approximately 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Work at earlier or later times of day may be required. Work such as data entry, and other work done at a desk or indoor setting can generally be done during typical office hours.

Salary: Salary commensurate with experience.

Required Knowledge and Experience:

  • High School graduate with four (4) years of college level education including courses in the biological or scientific field.
  • Experience conducting field work in Hawaii.
  • Experience managing volunteers and/or working with volunteer organizations.
  • Marine wildlife stranding response and/or marine wildlife handling experience.
  • Marine conservation‐oriented public outreach experience.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Ability to work effectively both individually and collaboratively in a team/group setting.
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback and implement appropriate action.


If you are interested in being considered for this position, please APPLY THROUGH OUR ADP WEB PORTAL, AT THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.

Only qualified applicants that meet minimum experience or background requirements stated above need apply. When applying for this position you will be asked to upload your resume at the end of this online application.

Applicants should submit a resume that includes the following:

  • Cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the required and preferred qualifications listed.
  • Work history for past 10 years or since last full-time education.
  • Education.
  • Previous experience or training with similar requirements.
  • Three professional references.
  • Include your name in the document file name.
  • Upload your resume in readable, not scanned, PDF or Word format (PDF is preferred).

How to Apply  

Job Categories: Equal Opportunities. Job Types: Part-Time. Salaries: Not Disclosed.

Job expires in 29 days.

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