Careers in the Coastal Fisheries Division

Marine Biology, Fisheries and Habitat Management


Fisheries, Marine Biology, Fisheries Management, Oceanographer, Wildlife Biologist, Ecologist, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Consultant, Aquaculture, Chemist, Biochemist, Statistician, Hydrologist, GIS Specialist, Human Dimensions Specialist, Information Specialist

Work Environment

Setting: Field stations, office, outdoor activities, coastal towns, Austin headquarters, hatcheries, laboratories.

Hours: Generally 8-5, but often involve longer hours, holidays and weekends.

Job Mobility: Usually employees remain at one location until a higher position becomes available. Forced transfers are uncommon.

Travel: Depends on the position, but some travel (other than for sampling) is possible.

Advancement Opportunities: Some positions are on Career Tracking. This means that you generally begin at the entry level and through time and performance you can advance to a higher position.

Future outlook: Texas Parks and Wildlife jobs are always in high demand, and many people may apply for a single position. Consequently, the competition for jobs within the department is great. As the demand on our natural resources increases, so does the necessity for the continued collection of data in order to maintain the high level of sound management for which the Coastal Fisheries Division is noted. Good, qualified people are always needed to meet this challenge.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Experience with boat and motor operation, maintenance and repair
  • Experience with auto maintenance and repair
  • Experience on the water
  • Communication skills - written and verbal
  • Familiarity with marine species and habitats
Biologists and Specialists
  • Ability to write a scientific paper
  • Training and experience with computers
  • Training in statistical data collection and analysis and mathematics
  • Training and experience in public speaking
  • Ability to work with diverse groups of people
  • Ability to weigh diverse input and make appropriate recommendations
  • Knowledge of marine fish, fisheries and environments
Both Technicians and Biologists
  • Ability to collect and summarize data
  • Ability to understand and follow instructions
  • Ability to work with people
  • Ability to report and observe
  • Ability to handle multiple assignments under unexpected and short deadlines
  • SCUBA certification (required for some positions)

Knowledge, skills and abilities requirements may vary significantly from position to position.

Minimum Education Requirements

Technicians: High school education or GED

Biologists and specialists: Bachelor's degree in fisheries science, biology, GIS or related field. This requirement varies with position and responsibility.

Summary of Work Activities

Collect, record, consolidate and analyze required data

  • Assist in experimental design
  • Assist in systems design
  • Assist in quality control
  • Conduct data analysis
  • Conduct literature review
  • Schedule activities
  • Conduct data collection and research in field and laboratory setting including:
    Field sampling activities: gill netting; bag-seines; bay and gulf trawls; special studies sampling; fish tagging; sport fishing interviews; commercial fishing interviews
    Hatchery activities: water quality monitoring; feeding of fish; filter cleaning; spawn workup; data recording; spawning research; fish transporting; fish stocking

Laboratory research activities

  • Genetics lab
  • Age and growth lab
  • Life history studies reef enhancement activities
  • SCUBA diving on oil platforms and other artificial structures and natural reefs
  • Working with oil companies to negotiate donations
  • Population surveys of reef organisms
  • Buoy maintenance

Supervise, schedule, counsel, train and hire assigned personnel

  • Personnel administration
  • Conduct performance reviews
  • Conduct personnel conferences
  • Conduct training
  • Hire personnel
  • Review time sheets
  • Review travel vouchers
  • Review training requests
  • Develop daily, weekly and monthly schedules

Work Activities of Biologists, Specialists and Technicians

Increase public awareness of programs and activities

  • Give presentations to the general public
  • Give professional presentations
  • Write news releases

Prepare verbal and written responses to requests by public

  • Prepare follow-up memo to training and meetings
  • Attend professional training course
  • Attend professional meetings
  • Demonstrate proper conduct toward the public and fellow employees
  • Answer questions from the general public
  • Respond to inquiries from legislators, commissioners, judges

Prepare division reports

  • Technical/scientific writing
  • Routine technical reports
  • Intra-agency reports
  • Professional peer reviewed journal publications
  • Research proposals (state, federal aid, grants)
  • Report review/editing

Maintain equipment and facility

  • Perform routine preventive maintenance
  • Perform or oversee equipment/facility repair
  • Schedule maintenance
  • Identify maintenance needs

Be familiar and comply with safety rules and procedures

  • Follow all safety directives, memos, verbal direction
  • Attend safety training
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment
  • Notify appropriate personnel of safety problems or take corrective action

Administrative paperwork as required

  • Maintain budgets
  • Submit project needs
  • Write equipment specifications
  • Purchase necessary items
  • Complete and review purchase orders and vouchers
  • Complete and review routine administrative paperwork including:
    Time sheets
    Travel vouchers
    Personal training requests
    Personal monthly status reports
    Maintain vehicle logs
    Maintain vehicle maintenance reports


Texas A&M University and the University of Texas offer a marine science curricula. Many other good colleges and universities with marine science programs exist throughout the country.

Valuable Courses of Study and Training for your Career

Technician Positions

  • Small engine repair
  • Boating skills
  • Safety training
  • Outboard motor repair
  • Navigation skills
  • Geographical Positioning Systems
  • Trade skills such as

Biologist and Specialist Positions

  • All biological sciences
  • General marine science
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic ecology
  • Wetlands ecology
  • Aquaculture
  • Botany
  • Animal Biology and Identification such as:
  • English
  • Mathematics including calculus and statistics
  • Scientific writing
  • Maritime law
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Computer and software proficiency
  • Geographic information system (GIS)
  • Human dimensions science

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Job


  • If you are in a field position, you get to work outdoors and on the water. You get to see nature at its best and its worst.
  • You contribute toward the management and protection of Texas' marine resources.
  • There is generally high job satisfaction.
  • You get to work with many different types of marine animals.
  • You get to work with many groups of people.


  • Lots of paperwork.
  • Having to make difficult decisions that affect people's lives.
  • Potentially strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Exposure to the elements.
  • Working in adverse and extreme weather conditions.
  • Occasional handling of venomous marine organisms.