Oceana is the largest international nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. Oceana’s campaigns are directed at achieving measurable improvements in public policy. The Ocean Advocate reports to Oceana’s senior director for federal policy and works with Oceana’s responsible fishing, shark, and illegal fishing and seafood fraud campaigns. Goals for these campaigns include reducing overfishing and catch of non-target species (bycatch), protecting important marine habitat, banning the sale and trade of shark fins in the United States, and requiring traceability to ensure all seafood is legally caught and honestly labeled.
For these three campaigns, the Ocean Advocate advances Oceana’s policy goals with Congress and the executive branch, under the direction of the campaign directors, and works closely with the field, communications, science, legal, and development teams. The Ocean Advocate may also assist in fulfilling other organizational objectives, including assisting Oceana teams in other offices. The position is based in Washington, D.C. Occasional travel is required.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
- Lead Oceana’s government relations activities for the responsible fishing, sharks, and illegal fishing and seafood fraud campaigns, under the direction of the campaign directors and the senior director for federal policy.
- Persuasively represent Oceana positions and campaign goals to Congress, the Administration, federal agency officials, and other policymakers. Develop extensive contacts in Congress and the executive branch.
- Analyze federal legislative proposals, executive branch actions and government reports.
- Work with Oceana campaign teams to develop strategies to achieve campaign goals.
- Work with all Oceana teams (policy, field, communications, science, legal, development, organizational services, and international offices) to promote organizational priorities and objectives.
- Create advocacy and public documents (fact sheets, draft congressional letters, public comment letters, backgrounders, action alerts, and reports) in support of Oceana goals and projects.
- Represent Oceana positions in coalitions and where needed, coordinate with other NGOs on sign-on letters, lobby days and other collaborative events.
- Assist communications staff with media outreach opportunities and represent Oceana to various media outlets as an expert on ocean policy as needed.
- Participate in the hiring and supervision of interns.
- Assist in preparing formal comments for rulemakings and other federal agency actions.
- Assist legal staff in developing potential ocean conservation cases and in implementing strategies to support litigation.
- Undertake additional projects as requested by senior staff and perform other duties as needed or assigned.
Education and work experience:
- Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in political science, public policy, conservation biology, marine affairs or a related discipline. Masters’ degree preferred.
- Three to five years of advocacy or legislative work, preferably at the federal level and preferably on ocean conservation.
Skills and knowledge:
- Knowledge of the federal policy-making process in Congress and the executive branch.
- Experience in developing and implementing legislative strategies to win campaigns, including targeting; drafting messages, talking points and advocacy materials; and obtaining paid and earned media coverage.
- Ability and desire to advocate for complex, aggressive conservation positions in a variety of settings, from one-on-one meetings to presentations at large briefings and conferences.
- Strong writing skills and ability to write for a variety of audiences.
- Strong oral and written communication skills and keen analytical ability.
- Experience working to meet tight deadlines, completing unexpected projects, and effectively managing a demanding work load.
- Ability to take initiative by suggesting ways to augment the work and responsibilities of the position to accomplish Oceana’s goals.
- Computer literacy, particularly with Microsoft Office applications.
- Flexibility to work long hours occasionally.
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