Position Profile

Job Title:  Fisheries Biologist

Work Unit:  Operations Division, Red Deer North Saskatchewan Region

Ministry:   Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1043257

Date:  June 2017



Reporting to the Senior Fisheries Biologist, this professional, full working-level fisheries biologist is accountable for delivering a wide range of field programs intended to ensure the long term sustainability of fish species and fish habitat in the Rocky Mountain House Fisheries Management area, within the Red Deer North Saskatchewan (RDNS) Region. Primary functions include area fisheries management program planning and project delivery. Key responsibilities include conducting resource and user surveys, collecting field data, completing data analysis and interpreting results, writing technical reports, establishing program work plans, conducting reviews of land and resource use development applications, assessing the effectiveness of mitigation plans, and managing of assigned budgets. The incumbent will function as a key member of an integrated team of professional and technical staff responsible for the management of fisheries resources in this Region. The incumbent may represent Fisheries Management in various planning initiatives at the landscape and species management level as well as participating in interagency and multi-stakeholder resource management and department compliance and approvals initiatives.

Responsibilities and Activities


Resource Management - Species/Population

Provides input to, and implements, species population inventory and monitoring programs, provides information and assists in the development of strategies and priorities to ensure the long term sustainability of fisheries resources in the area.


  • Conducts population inventory and monitoring programs e.g. Fall Walleye Index Netting (FWIN) surveys, creel surveys, population estimates, watershed fisheries assessments, etc. using approved (standard) methods and fisheries management techniques.
  • Participates in the design and implementation of species population inventory and monitoring programs to determine population size, status, distribution and structure.
  • Participates in the resolution and management of resource allocation issues amongst commercial, aboriginal i.e. domestic and sport fishing users, while ensuring the continued sustainability of the fish resource.
  • Participates in development and monitoring of the regional fish-stocking program, in close cooperation with provincial fish culture staff and the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA).
  • Represents Fisheries Management interests in various regulatory and non-regulatory functions (e.g., public advisory committee meetings, round-table meetings, stakeholder discussions e.g. AFGA meetings).
  • Participates in the development and implementation of provincial species management and recovery plans at the local and provincial level, including compilation and analysis of data.
  • Conducts stakeholder consultation to obtain public input on fisheries resource planning and management initiatives and enhance public understanding (i.e. angling regulations, lake management plans)
  • Synthesizes complex data to address emerging issues and to advance regulatory proposals to Senior Fisheries Biologist or Fish and Wildlife Program Managers.
  • Participates on regional, intra or inter departmental task teams. Teams would typically be involved in development of standards and guidelines, review of major resource development proposals, or development of landscape or resource management strategies.
  • Provides advice/input to internal and external interests on various fish management related matters, including project-specific monitoring proposals, review of draft reports, and species management/fish sustainability index plans.
  • Supports and identifies conditions for the issuance of fish research licences, competitive fishing event licences, and fish stocking licences.
  • Supports the loading, retrieval and manipulation of resource management data within the fisheries management information database (FWMIS).

Resource Management - Habitat

Participates in integrated resource management processes to help reduce the impact of industrial and recreational activities on fishery resources. Provides input to the development of fish management objectives; participates in various landscape and watershed management planning exercises; carries out habitat inventory programs; monitors habitat trends; and provides professional advice to others (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, other provincial Departments/Branches e.g. Compliance staff, Parks staff, on designing effective mitigation and compensation strategies.


  • Participates in inter-department and intra-department environmental management planning and decision-making processes to mitigate the impact of industrial and recreational developments on fish and fish habitat.
  • Works directly with fish habitat specialists and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on fish habitat matters to ensure DFO regulatory practices conform to and meet fisheries management objectives.
  • Provides Fisheries Management input to the development of department and interagency standards, guidelines, practices, and programs that will ensure the protection of fish habitat (e.g. Codes of Practise, Operational Statements of DFO).
  • Provides input and advice to provincial regulators on the acceptability of EIA submissions to address fisheries management interests.
  • Represents Fisheries Management and participates in long term landscape management planning activities providing fisheries management objectives (e.g. watershed management plans, waterbody management plans, access management plans)
  • Conducts habitat inventory/monitoring programs to determine trends in fisheries habitat. Provides feedback to regulators on the effectiveness of fish habitat protection efforts.
  • Provides professional advice to others, assesses habitat restoration and enhancement project plans of various groups (e.g., AFGA, TU, ACA, towns, counties and municipalities) and assists as appropriate.


Identifies fisheries management research needs and helps prepare business cases and study designs for research projects. Cooperates in the implementation of assigned regional and division approved research and adaptive management projects and may participate on regional, provincial, inter-agency, education institution and industry partnered fish related research projects. Prepares technical and scientific reports and may participate in peer review of related research activities.


  • Assists in the development of prioritized plans for fisheries research within the region and in response to requests from specific institutions or agencies.
  • Designs and/or implements scientific research programs and projects to address identified data or knowledge gaps in the area.
  • Assists with the review of local and regional Alberta Conservation Association project submissions and their ranking for provincial consideration.
  • As requested, may participate with others in delivering approved research projects (e.g. ACA, universities).
  • Prepares technical, scientific and management reports, may conduct peer reviews and present findings to others.
  • May provide guidance and support to graduate students working on fisheries studies within the region.
  • Reviews and processes assigned research permit applications and makes recommendations for approval to the Region or provincial licensing authority.

Education and Community Relations

Educates and informs the public, stakeholders, and special interest groups about fisheries resources and related aquatic programs in the Region, their management and current issues.


  • Collaborates in the development of fisheries education initiatives, and prioritizes work, with the Regional Management and Fisheries team, and the regional Information Officer, towards delivering identified projects.
  • Responds to requests for specific fisheries resource information from internal and external audiences (i.e., other departments, universities, schools, industrial stakeholders, NGO’s, various associations, community organizations, local governments, etc.).
  • Develops and maintains effective relationships with various media in support of local fisheries management programs.
  • Supports and participates in the development and delivery of extension activities and products to support fisheries management conservation initiatives and aquatic invasive species programs (e.g., school programs/projects, community tradeshows and events, habitat restoration projects by volunteers, etc.).

Finance, Administration and Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)

Provides input to the development of local and regional budget plans and administers allocated budget in accordance with department financial policy and procedures and Regional administrative guidelines. . Responsible for the maintenance and use of assigned equipment and associated documentation and tracking of repairs and inventory. Accountable for the use of assigned equipment in a manner consistent with department OH&S policies, procedures, and regulations according to the OH&S Act.


  • Assists with regional budget planning and implementation processes. Includes assigning resources to achieve identified work objectives within a balanced budget.
  • Ensures financial transactions are conducted within established financial policy and procedures; maintains accurate and up-to-date records, meets quarterly budget reporting, and forecasted targets.
  • Procures equipment to do the job, maintains accurate inventory, maintains assigned equipment according to established standards, and ensures it is operated safely.
  • Ensures a thorough understanding of department OH&S programs and policies by all direct reports and contractors; develops project specific safety plans and ensures compliance with work specific OH&S procedures e.g. hazard assessments, standard operating procedures within assigned work unit per Act, regulations, and established standards and procedures
  • Maintains current OH&S training and job-specific certifications as required by Department/Region/Branch.


Provides supervision to junior biologists, technical staff, wage staff, university exchange students, and may coordinate or supervise contracts.


  • Develops performance agreements and staff development plans for permanent direct reports. Monitors performance, deals effectively with employee relations matters, keeps supervisor informed, provides ongoing performance feedback and completes year/term-end performance assessments.
  • Conducts OH&S orientation, in collaboration with administrative staff, for new employees, volunteers or contractors. Identifies training and development needs to perform the job assigned for each subordinate employee. Ensures supervised staff are aware and informed of department OH&S policies and procedures and ensures work is conducted in accordance with established standards, procedures and applicable OH&S legislation.


  • Conducts business and functions as a professional Biologist (eligible for membership in the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists) and, under the supervision of the Senior Fisheries Biologist, carries out a broad scope of duties in support of fish resource management.
  • Delivers identified fish management programs locally and in the Region. Decisions and recommendations have direct impact on long-term sustainability of fish populations in the Region.
  • Represents fisheries program interests locally and within the Region when interacting with other agencies, government departments, resource industries, NGO’s, local governments, stakeholders and the public concerning resource management activities and issues.
  • Represents fisheries management interests to the general public, stakeholders and other interest groups.
  • Provides input to development of provincial fisheries policy, regulations, standards, guidelines, and procedures.
  • Participates as a fisheries management advisor to various regulators with respect to the assessment of development proposals and determination of appropriate mitigation techniques.
  • Represents the Branch and or Region in various integrated resource management planning exercises at sub-regional, local, and project levels.
  • Develops and implements consultation programs to integrate public/user/stakeholder input into resource management planning and habitat protection in the assigned area.
  • Supervises seasonal and permanent staff, as well as volunteers and contractors.
  • Prioritizes workload to achieve local objectives and regional Fisheries Management program outcomes.
  • Discharges duties as a Fisheries and Wildlife Guardian under the authority of the Federal Fisheries Act and the Alberta Wildlife Act.
  • May be required to act as an expert fisheries witness in legal proceedings or quasi-judicial hearings.
  • Role includes resource management, public education, first nations consultation, research, advisory and administrative responsibilities.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Broad working knowledge of the Alberta fisheries management program, relevant Acts (Fisheries Alberta Act, Federal Fisheries Act, Public Lands Act and Regulation, Water Act, SARA, OH&S, etc.) Department and Branch specific working standards (identified in the Fisheries Handbook), guidelines, policies and procedures.
  • Experience in working with other resource managers and regulators to address resource conflict through planning and mitigation.
  • Must have a minimum of a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree in Biology preferably with a fisheries specialization including expertise in scientific data collection and analysis; population, habitat and inventory monitoring; and a working knowledge of integrated natural resource/land-use planning.
  • A minimum of four years of directly related applied field experience in fisheries management.
  • Proven ability to design and conduct extensive fisheries field data collection and monitoring programs. Components include; scientific rigor in study design, field operations planning, budget management, program supervision, statistical data analysis, writing and reporting.
  • Position requires incumbent to be eligible for appointment as a Fisheries Guardian.
  • Ability to conduct resource risk assessments to determine the best course of action.
  • Ability to resolve complex resource management problems and effectively utilize interpersonal skills e.g. negotiation, conflict resolution, that result in effective negotiation and influence to achieve win-win solutions.
  • Broad familiarity of the issues and challenges related to mitigating resource development impacts on the fisheries resource.
  • Good administrative skills, specifically in organizing work, establishing priorities, project management, performance measurement, financial management and reporting.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills including writing scientific reports, delivering dynamic presentations, leading team sessions, providing advice and information to others.
  • Good computer skills in data analysis, modelling, ArcGIS, use of specialized programs and data base management.
  • Proficient in the operation of off-highway vehicles (4X4 quads, snowmobiles), motorized boats, use of firearms and specialized fisheries equipment including radio telemetry, gill nets, trap nets, electrofishing, limnological, water sampling and other fisheries management sampling equipment.


  • Other provincial fisheries management staff: provide Senior Fisheries Biologist or Resource Manager updates and advice on dealing with resource management issues. Seeks consultation from permanent staff and others with particular specialties for difficult issues.
  • Colleagues in other management areas, management agencies and universities: for information exchange, problem solving and development of new analysis or sampling techniques.
  • Provides advice and direction to seasonal or permanent staff within personal areas of expertise (modelling, statistical design, and human dimensions of fisheries).
  • Works with volunteers as needed: for project assistance or to enhance outreach opportunities.
  • Maintains contacts with other Branch, Divisional and Departmental staff: to advance Branch and Divisional programs, to establish standards, and to resolve problem issues (i.e. Wildlife, water management/Approvals, etc.).
  • Contact with local government (MDs, Counties): for purpose of providing information regarding fisheries resources management issues, programs and public consultation activities in the area.
  • Works with federal and provincial enforcement officers: to describe fisheries management concerns and assist each other in monitoring where necessary. Provide scientific advice on distribution and approaches to enforcement for particular problems and evaluation of their statistics.
  • Works with other departments or agencies, (DFO, Forestry, etc.): to provide input on interdisciplinary issues.
  • Media: As approved, provides department position or represents fisheries interests to print and electronic media.
  • Non-Government Organizations: provides information, informs, delivers presentations and maintains contacts with NGOs and stakeholders to foster stewardship and community involvement.
  • Contact with aboriginal groups to discuss harvest and allocation of fisheries resources as well as concerns regarding fisheries issues.
  • General Public: ongoing contact with resource users, general public, schools, interest groups to provide fisheries information, encourage stewardship and respond to issues or complaints within the Region.

Supervision Exercised

  • Supervises permanent Fisheries Technician position (NR7)


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