20 Nov Fisheries Resource Assistant
We seek an intern to assist park scientists with assessing the efficacy of new fishing regulations implemented in Biscayne National Park. These new regulations were enacted in July of 2020 to improve the status of targeted species and the habitats they utilize, both of which have long been acknowledged to be in decline due to a variety of factors. The intern would be involved in completion of recreational creel surveys (surveys of recreational fishers to assess their effort, landings, and experience) to collect valuable fishery-dependent data from visitors who are fishing in the park. The data collected can be added to the park’s longstanding creel database, which goes back to 1976, to help determine if the new rules have improved the status of fishery-targeted species in the park.
Creel surveys are vital to monitoring fishing effort in the park, determining if visitors are compliant with the new regulations, providing outreach to uneducated visitors, and assessing if the new regulations are improving the fishing experience. The intern will be trained in the creel survey methodologies and identification of the commonly harvested fish species. He/she will be expected to operate from the local public marinas that feed into Biscayne National Park and interact with park visitors as they return to the marina from their day of fishing. The intern will ask a series of questions about the fishing activity, then examine landings to obtain data on sizes and numbers of species. The intern would be expected to conduct creel surveys during the peak fishing days each week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
For the remaining two days per work week (either Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday), the intern will work closely with other Natural Resource Management staff to gain a well-rounded exposure to various natural resource management activities within Biscayne National Park. Specific tasks will vary from week to week, but will likely include at least some of the following activities: a) monitorong and protection of threatened and endangered sea turtle nests; b) providing top-side support and data collection assistance for park SCUBA operations focused on in-water fish surveys and non-native lionfish removals; c) collection of water samples for salinity monitoring, red tide assessments, and/or ocean acidification studies; d) marine debris clean-ups from coastal (beach and mangrove) and marine (shallow reefs and seagrass) habitats, and e) survey and trapping efforts for non-native reptiles such as green iguanas, tegus, and Burmese pythons.
For all assigned tasks, the intern will be responsible for neat, complete data collection, database entry, and proper filing of hard copies of data. Should the intern demonstrate the need/desire/capabilities to conduct data analyses, the mentor will guide the intern in completion of data analyses and summary statistics. Examples of data analyses include catch per unit effort, average size of harvested species over time, and occurrence of violations (for creel data).