The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is Ireland’s premier eNGO working in the marine environment. Established in 1990, the IWDG has built a credible reputation for effective advocacy for cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and their habitats. The IWDG is also a primary data holder with unique datasets on cetaceans which we use to support conservation actions and policies. The IWDG currently has three full-time staff and eight service providers.
We wish to recruit a full-time Marine Policy Officer on a three-year contract to develop IWDG conservation policies, build our advocacy capability and assist in the delivery of the IWDG 5 year plan.
The initial focus of the IWDG Policy Officer role will be to drive the preparation and promotion of key IWDG policies on offshore renewable energy and commercial fishing.
The roll out of offshore wind and wave energy in Irish inshore waters over the next 10 years will have profound effects on our marine environment. The potential for biodiversity enhancement and net biodiversity gain is huge. The IWDG published a policy document on offshore wind in 2021 and has had many consultations with the offshore renewables industry and their representatives. The demand on IWDG for consultations regarding environmental scoping, assessments and mitigation and monitoring is increasing rapidly and IWDG wish to provide a consistent and coherent response to these requests.
The fishing sector, especially inshore, is under increased pressure from a range of policy developments including the licensing of offshore renewable energy (wind and wave farms) and marine protected areas. This has led fishers to describe these key policies as resulting in “fishing squeeze” and fishers face potential restrictions and exclusion from large areas of the sea. However, such restrictions may also yield benefits for fishers in terms of stock recovery and increased fishing opportunities in the future.
The IWDG wish to further build on our good relationships with fishers and their representative organisations to engage in these issues, identify areas of mutual concern and benefit, and identify policies which will further our stated objectives.
This role will appeal to a candidate with a strong knowledge of marine conservation and a desire to communicate the importance of marine protection to a variety of stakeholders and audiences from the general public to government representatives. A good understanding of environmental impact assessment and marine spatial planning as well as a good understanding of government policy in these areas is an advantage.
A detailed programme of work will be agreed with the successful candidate at the outset. The successful candidate will report to the IWDG CEO and work closely with IWDG Officers, especially the Science and Conservation Officers. Responsibilities include;
- Primary contact and lead at the IWDG for consultation with offshore renewable companies on impact assessment, site stewardship, planning and monitoring
- Researching and writing submissions to consultations on offshore renewable developments.
- Advocating for strong marine conservation measures and an ethos of site stewardship to be implemented.
- Developing and promoting IWDG policy on commercial fishing, especially on inshore fisheries.
Stakeholder Engagement and Communications
- Engaging international partners on best practice for offshore renewables.
- Attending occasional in-person meetings in Brussels with our European partners.
- Exploring opportunities for collaboration between Irish and European initiatives
- Build relationships with fishers and their representative organisations.
- Represent the IWDG at a number of fisheries forums and stakeholder groups (e.g. RIFFs, RAC, IEN Marine Group).
- Supporting the production of reports, policy positions and website articles.
- Communication of reports, press statements, policy positions and outputs from advocacy campaigns to the IWDG network and beyond through social media, press releases, Flukes magazine articles and talks.
- Tracking campaign activities and deliverables
- Identifying funding sources and preparing funding applications
- Assisting in writing reports
- Communicating campaigns to IWDG members
Essential skills or experience
- Skills in communicating scientific information to a diverse range of audiences
- A relevant university degree or equivalent qualifications or experience
- An understanding of marine ecosystems and marine conservation biology
- Knowledge of the relevant EU and Irish policies and legislation
- Experience working as part of a team and independently
- Understanding of the roles and interactions of various marine stakeholders such as: civil society groups, researchers, commercial interests, state agencies and politicians
- An ability to communicate effectively, both written and verbally
- Experience working in marine science or nature conservation advocacy
- Experience in research and report writing
- Organisational and time management skills and the ability to manage and prioritise workloads and deadlines
- Proficiency in working across software platforms: video meetings, word processing, spreadsheets, social media
Desirable skills or experience
- Advocacy and lobbying experience in an environmental NGO
- An understanding of offshore renewable energy in Ireland
- An understanding of commercial fishing in Irish inshore waters
- Experience writing evidence-based submissions to public consultations
Personal attributes and competencies
- Passion for wildlife conservation and the mission of the IWDG to engage people with nature conservation
- Enjoy working as part of a team
- Ability to use own initiative and work independently
- Full driving license and own vehicle
Conditions of Employment
This role allows for remote working options, however the successful candidate will be expected to attend occasional in person meetings and events at our head office in Kilrush, Co Clare. Applicants can be based anywhere in Ireland, including at our head office, although this role may ideally suit a candidate based in Dublin or Cork to facilitate contact with key government department and agencies. The successful candidate will be required to be available for travel within Ireland and internationally when necessary.
This is a full-time job as an IWDG employee for a fixed period of 3 years. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications and will align with recommendations for graduates in Ireland and is likely to be in the region of €30-40,000 per annum.
How to apply
To apply for this position please email your CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your cover letter should be in pdf format and a maximum of two pages in length. In your letter, please outline your motivation for this position and why you feel you have the skills and experience to succeed in the role.
Please put IWDG Marine Policy Officer in the email subject line.
Closing date: 3 March 2023 at 5pm