Director, European Oceans Program

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

The Director, European Oceans Program, will lead the implementation of the Oceans European program strategy, working with pivotal government decision makers, fishing industry and NGO partners in the region to design sustainable fishery management programs and policies.


Essential Function


The Director, European Oceans Program, will be the Oceans Program’s principal representative in Europe, leading strategy execution to achieve EDF Oceans’ vision for Europe to create sustainable fisheries that produce more fish in the water, more food on the plate and more prosperous communities.  The Director will bring a strategic view of the European landscape – its actors, government officials, fishing industry – in order to help steer the implementation of our plans.  S/he will be results-oriented with a demonstrable track record of achieving impact.  The Director must have experience managing teams, ideally teams that are geographically-dispersed.  S/he will also be expected to be able to represent the European Oceans project, and the broader Oceans program, with key external stakeholders to tell our environmental story in a way that is grounded in science and inspiring to decision-makers.


The Director will be a senior leader in the Oceans program, contributing to the intellectual foundation of our work, working through challenges to programmatic success, capitalizing on emerging opportunities, serving as a spokesperson with a variety of audiences and helping raise funds to support our work.  S/he will liaise with and contribute to broader EDF initiatives, including strong collaboration with EDF’s Executive Director, Europe.  The European location of the position is open to discussion, though frequent travel to London, Brussels and project locations in various European countries, and occasional travel to the U.S., will be required.


Key Responsibilities


  • Serve as the Oceans program’s primary representative in Europe, acting as a resource for European policy makers and fishery managers.
  • Analyze complex fishery management programs and develop implementation plans to create more productive and sustainable fisheries and healthy oceans by strengthening management and aligning stakeholders’ economic incentives with the health of the ocean.
  • Serve as the leader of the EU Oceans team, including staff and consultants, managing them to ensure they are on track to meet goals and objectives. Ensure timely and thorough communications to the Oceans management team and other core internal partners (Development, Communications) on significant program developments.
  • Work with others across the Oceans Program and throughout EDF to marshal the technical, communications and other expert support needed to successfully achieve our European oceans goals.
  • Forge alliances amongst disparate interest groups and coordinate between citizen and environmental interests. Help build regional and national coalitions, and promote conservation leadership in the commercial and recreational fishing communities, as appropriate.
  • Coordinate the European region’s work with appropriate European agencies including the European Commission, Council of Ministers and Parliament, member state and coastal state fisheries ministries, and other relevant ocean conservation agencies.
  • Engage scientists, policy experts, and others to solve complex fishery management problems; represent the Oceans program in European fora and other leadership efforts.
  • In coordination with EDF communications experts, engage the media to effectively advance project objectives and communicate project results to a broad array of audiences.
  • Supervise the program and operational work of the European program and maintain a unified sense of teamwork between members of the each team, and across countries, as appropriate.
  • Work with EDF development team to identify potential funding sources and secure grants to help maintain and expand the program’s funding.
  • Help to prepare and supervise the annual budget for the European program.
  • In coordination with the Oceans Program management team, provide leadership for the EU program and alignment with the Oceans global strategy to ensure the efficient use of resources and achievement of group and individual goals.
  • Liaise with the Executive Director, Europe to ensure alignment with the overall European strategy and coordination with other EDF efforts in Europe

  • Work with the Executive Director, Europe and Oceans program leadership to communicate with and inspire Environmental Defense Fund Europe board members.

  • Support the work of the Oceans cross-functional teams by working collaboratively with them to identify projects and issues key to the work in Europe, finding ways to integrate their findings, thinking and projects into European work, and assigning European project staff to serve as members of functional teams.




  • Minimum 10 years of experience, with a significant amount of time spent working with relevant European and member state governmental agencies, industries, and NGOs on natural resource or fisheries management.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage staff and budget and to manage strategy implementation for results.
  • Demonstrated expertise on the biological, economic, policy and management issues related to major European fisheries, especially commercial and recreational fisheries, or an analogous natural resource management issue.
  • Demonstrated ability to work constructively with nonprofit colleagues and partners, scientists, economists, industry leaders, regulators and public policy decision makers.
  • Ability to use science, law, economics and advocacy to initiate and win positive environmental change.
  • Experience achieving results in environmental policy and politics.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Bachelor’s Degree required. Law degree or a Masters or Ph.D. in marine biology, natural resource economics, or related discipline, highly preferred.
  • Fluent in English.mmOne other European language a plus, Spanish or French preferred.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.