I am a Professor of Marine Conservation Ecology and my research is focused on sustainable food production systems, fisheries, aquaculture and conservation. I graduated from Liverpool with a BSc in Marine Biology in 1988 and undertook my PhD in the School of Biological Sciences at Bangor where I studied the feeding ecology of fishes and crabs. After completing my PhD in 1991 joined the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Conwy Laboratory) where I headed a research group that studied the ecological effects of fishing and aquaculture practices on marine ecosystems. I moved to the School of Ocean Sciences in 1998 where I have continued to develop these lines of research. I gained my DSc through the University of Liverpool in 2003.
I have had an extensive portfolio of UK Government appointments and currently sit on the Board of the Seafish Industry Authority and I am an independent member of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. I have acted as an external advisor and reviewer for Marine Scotland Science, CEFAS and externally for the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) and the Swedish Formas programme. I am an editorial board member of the journal Fish and Fisheries and I am one of the editors of the ICES Journal of Marine Science. Since 1998 I have grant capture that exceeds £8.5M from a wide variety of sources including NERC, BBSRC, ESRC, EU programmes, UK Government, Charities such as the Walton and Packard Foundations and UK and international industries.
My research is divided into four main themes: the ecosystem effects of fishing, sustainable aquaculture, disturbance ecology and socio-economic and biological issues relevant to coastal systems management. At present my research group comprises 8 post doctoral researchers, 5 research assistants and four PhD students. Our current projects include:
– Sustainable use of fisheries in Welsh Waters (European Fishery Fund) which is a collaboration with the fishing industry to gather the evidence necessary to underpin advice to promote an ecosystem based management approach to fisheries.
– Sustainable fisheries in the Isle of Man (Isle of Man Government funded) in which we are undertaking the science necessary to understand the population biology of scallops, crab, lobster and whelk and how these are impacted by fishing and the marine environment.
– Trawling: Finding common ground on best practices for trawling (Walton Foundation, Packard Foundation and industry funded), which is an international collaboration (lead partner University of Washington, Seattle [Hilborn]) to provide the science to underpin the development of management scenarios that optimise the trade-off between food production and environmental disturbance.
– BENTHIS EU FP8 A project that aims to determine precisely the impacts of bottom fishing on different components of the marine environment, using a combination of meta-analyses, systematic review, field observations and modelling.
NERC Knowledge Exchange programme: Sustainable Food Production. In this programme we worked with Prof Bill Sutherland (Cambridge) and other UK HEI partners to undertake a prioritisation of research needs for aquaculture which has been used by NERC, BBSRC, and the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum to prioritise research needs. We aim to extend this work to address all areas of aquaculture and wild capture fisheries.