Post-doc position in data-limited fisheries assessment and its applicability for MSC

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC; is recruiting a post-doctoral researcher to work on the extension of the length-based spawning potential ratio method (LB-SPR; Hordyk et al.2014; Prince et al. 2014) and its applicability for MSC fisheries assessments. The position will be located in MSC Headquarters in London, UK, starting in March 2015 and going through February 2016 (12 months). Potential candidates should have a strong background and skills in data analysis and statistical modeling, stock assessment modeling, and coding in R.  Familiarity with management strategy evaluations (MSE) is also required. A healthy publication record in relevant topics is preferred.

Phase 1 of this project, funded by Packard, ran by MSC and executed by Biospherics, was focused on the development of the length-based SPR (LB-SPR) method and harvest control rules (HCRs).

Phase 2 objectives were directed to incorporate the new SPR methodology and ‘rules of thumb’ for crediting MPAs into the MSC certification process and developing the basis for accounting for the contribution of SPR reference points and HCRs to MSC methodology. A validation exercise was also conducted to compare estimates of SPR using the LB-SPR approach and the quantitative stock assessment for 40 data-rich stocks.

The successful candidate will contribute to Phase 3 of this project by collaborating with a network of stock assessment scientists with the objectives of: (i) defining uncertainty around estimates of SPR through MSE-type modeling and by using data-rich stocks and how they relate to MSC scoring requirements; (ii) developing a decision tree to identify situations where the method doesn’t perform well; and (iii) providing a protocol to deal with method /data/ parameter sensitivities when applied in the field. The successful candidate will also be contributing to two workshops: (1) in CSIRO, Hobart, Australia where most of the modeling work will be started; and (2) in London, UK where results of the LB-SPR method calibration with MSC assessments will be presented and discussed within a qualified group of stock assessment scientist. The ultimate objective of this Phase 3 is to develop a guide to using the LB-SPR and other data-limited stock assessment methods leading to MSC certification outcomes.

Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest, CV, and the names and contact information for 3 references to Dr. Nicolas L Gutierrez ( Review of applications will begin January 30th 2015 and continue until the position is filled.

Relevant references:

Hordyk A, Ono K, Valencia, S, Loneragan, N, Prince J (2014) A novel length-based empirical estimation method of spawning potential ratio (SPR), and tests of its performance, for small-scale, data-poor fisheries. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu004.

Prince J, Hordyk A, Valencia SR, Loneragan N, Sainsbury K (2014) Revisiting the concept of Beverton–Holt life-history invariants with the aim of informing data-poor fisheries assessment. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu011

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