Posted on January 20, 2016 10:50

The Wildlife Conservation Society seeks a Director of Marine Conservation and Fisheries, to be based at WCS headquarters in New York City.  WCS has a long history of ocean exploration and conservation, including William Beebe’s 1934 record-setting bathysphere dive and Roger Payne’s extraordinary 1974 discovery of humpback whale songs.  

From these early roots, and reflecting the WCS focus on saving wildlife and wild places, WCS’ marine conservation efforts currently focus on four strategies: Marine Protected Areas, sustainable fisheries, marine mammals, and sharks and rays.  Supporting these strategies, WCS maintains a strong commitment to applied marine scientific research and is building its capacity to leverage our impact through WCS’ New York Aquarium and other innovative partnerships. 

To deliver on these objectives at scale the Director oversees all WCS marine conservation efforts, including the implementation of marine conservation actions by ~250 marine conservation staff in Belize, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Gabon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambiue, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New York and the Arctic Beringia, as well as overseeing staff who coordinate global initiatives on marine species (cetaceans and sharks), climate, fisheries and marine policy.  The program is staffed by a dynamic and committed team of field scientists based at sites around the world, and a directorate of six staff in New York.

Position Objectives:

*Direct WCS’s marine conservation programs across 9 global priority regions and all 5 oceans in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America that largely focus on the establishment and management of marine protected areas, artisanal, and commercial fisheries, and the global conservation of marine mammals and sharks and rays.

*Promote the conservation of marine resources, the establishment of MPAs to protect coral reefs and other marine communities, the protection of historical use rights of local and indigenous fishers, the improvement of small scale fisheries, and global conservation of marine mammals, sharks and rays with host country governments, donors, governmental agencies and other non-governmental organizations through meetings, speaking engagements, media interviews, writing, and general communications.  

Direct international attention to important sites and species for conservation; and influence policies that promote their long-term persistence.

*Directly line manage 6 primary marine staff in New York: Directors of (1) Indo-Pacific, (2) Atlantic, (3) Marine Mammals, (4) Sharks and Rays, (5) Program Officer, and (6) Budget Officer.

*Based on the Marine Program strategic plan as articulated in WCS 2020, provide guidance to project development and implementation; facilitate communication and coordination among and between programs, with other departments and divisions at WCS, and between WCS programs and other institutions; and raise funds sufficient to meet program goals.

*Provide strategic leadership for the development of a WCS Fisheries Strategy to deliver on Marine Program Strategic Plan as articulated in WCS 2020.

*Leverage within-program and WCS-wide assets to promote marine conservation with national governments, international agencies, and other non-governmental organizations with special emphasis on the species and at the sites of WCS interest; and influence policies that promote the long-term persistence of wildlife and wild lands across the world’s seas and coastal waterways.

*Provide institution-wide support on ocean conservation issues, including support to the strategic redevelopment of the New York Aquarium, global, national and local ocean policy and the other cross-cutting marine themes.

*Support the larger WCS 2020 strategic plan implementation and other organizational priorities beyond marine conservation.

*Assess program priorities, strategy, and approaches.  Identify conservation needs in the marine realm; secure funding to establish new initiatives in cooperation with regional programs; and evaluate direction and success of programs, projects, and personnel.

*Maintain significant involvement in the raising of financial support for projects, in collaboration with WCS Development staff and Global Conservation Program field staff.  Develop proposals and participate in fund-raising activities; identify new funding sources; meet potential donors;  speak at fund-raising and other development engagements; maintain contact and reporting with funding sources.

*Provide liaison between Marine Program and other parts of WCS:  trustees, executive staff, policy staff, Public Affairs, Animal Health Program, Curatorial departments, Exhibits and Graphics, Education.

*Coordinate communication across projects and programs in the Marine realm, and between and among staff in WCS’s regional programs around the world.  Promote teamwork and the sharing of expertise, helping to ensure that Country Directors around the globe are cognizant of, and engaged in, promoting marine conservation priorities. As the Marine Program has a global reach, such coordination is critical both in New York, and with field programs.

*Synthesize lessons learned from WCS’s and other conservation organizations’ activities.  Write and publish documents, reports, books, and technical papers.  Be active in professional societies, attending meetings, workshops, strategy sessions, species actions plans, etc.

*Contribute to, enlarge and uphold the Society’s policies towards Equal Employment Opportunities for women, minorities, veterans, the handicapped, and other protected groups.


Applicants must have an earned doctorate or equivalent experience in a field related to the conservation of marine biological diversity with a strong background in coral reef conservation and the establishment and management of marine protected areas; 15 years minimum management experience in international marine conservation programs; ability to foster teamwork within the program; excellent interpersonal and communication skills; ability to work in a range of cultural contexts; significant and diverse fundraising experience. The position is based at WCS headquarters in New York City, includes a significant travel schedule.  Salary level commensurate with experience.

Please apply online at and send a cover letter and CV with the subject line “Director, Marine Conservation and Fisheries - [your name]” to





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