Undergraduate Fishery Biologist Internship 2019, International Pacific Halibut Commission (Seattle, WA) deadline: March 15

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is seeking an enthusiastic and motivated student to work in the IPHC office located near Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle, Washington, USA. The Internship Program is designed to give students exposure to a wide variety of tasks associated with the management of an international fisheries resource. Each student is assigned a specific research project that is chosen by the staff. The student will work closely with a supervisor to ensure continuing progress toward work goals and with other staff members on the various tasks assigned.

Who May Apply: Undergraduate students entering into or in their fourth year of study at an accredited University or College who are majoring in fisheries, marine biology, environmental studies, fisheries oceanography, or other aquatic or biological-related science. (Please note that this position is specific to an active undergraduate student. College graduates and those in post-undergraduate educational programs will not be considered.)

Employment term: May – August 2019 (approximately 12 weeks duration – start date negotiable depending on student’s school schedule)

Work term may include but is not limited to:

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

Qualifications needed:

  • Student 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. Note that we are unable to consider students who will have graduated prior to or during the work term.
  • Student 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. Student must be self-motivated and work well with limited supervision.
  • Although previous experience collecting data in the field is not a requirement, student must be motivated and willing to spend the required time on a Commission chartered survey vessel in the open ocean and/or in fishing ports, and perform the normal duties of an IPHC sampler.
  • Completion of at least one basic statistics course is required. Previous education and/or experience in fisheries species identification and sampling protocols is helpful, but not required.
  • 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.
  • Must be proficient with MSWord, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook software.
  • Must have a valid passport at time of employment.

Work hours: 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 work days and weekends.

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. 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:  IPHC-GS-5-1 = $3,081/month ($US)
  • Short-term medical insurance will be provided to uninsured employees for the duration of the work term.  Employees with existing medical insurance will be reimbursed up to the IPHC standard health care benefit amount for medical insurance expenses incurred during the work term upon submission of proof of coverage and cost.
  • Aflac accident insurance will be provided for the duration of the work term.
  • Sampling equipment will be supplied and all transportation, lodging, and meals while in the field are paid by the Commission.
  • The Commission does not offer a housing, relocation, or transportation allowance for Seattle work. Interns will be expected to secure housing and transportation to and from the Seattle office on their own. Parking is not provided but nearby street parking exists. Also, the student will be expected to have or purchase the necessary personal items for sea duty or port sampling such as rain gear, boots, and gloves, but will be compensated up to $350 (taxable) to help reimburse for gear required.

Application deadline: Friday, 15 March 2019

Materials required for application:

a) Letter of introduction explaining why you wish to work for the IPHC, what you hope to gain from the experience, and what you can offer the IPHC in return (upload/write your cover letter under the Communications tab);

b) Resume, complete with at least three listed references who can speak to your ability to complete projects and/or interpersonal skills. Letters of recommendation are also acceptable. (Resume, transcripts, and advisory letter should be uploaded together under the Resume tab);

c) Copy of college transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient. (Upload with your resume and advisory letter under the Resume tab);

d) Letter from advisor or academic department outlining credits earned upon completion of internship. Note that the IPHC has designed this program to serve as educational credit within the student’s curriculum. Proof of credit earned upon completion is required prior to acceptance into the IPHC internship. The number of credits earned is at the discretion of the student and their academic advisor. If applying through a B.C. co-op program, this letter is not required. (Upload with your resume and transcripts under the Resume tab).

Criminal background check: Employment with the IPHC requires the ability to freely cross the U.S.A./Canadian 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 USA/Canada border and this may result in the IPHC not being able to consider your application.

All completed applications received no later than 6 AM (PST) on Friday, 15 March, 2019 will be considered. A short list of candidates will be compiled and those students will be contacted for interviews. Interviews may be conducted over the phone or in person. Selection will be made no later than 26 April. All applicants will be notified of application status. If you have any questions, please contact:

IPHC Administration Office

International Pacific Halibut Commission

206-634-1838 x7677

E-mail: secretariat@iphc.int