Current employer: Blue Marine Foundation
Current job title: Senior Projects Manager
Current location: Somerset House, London
Year of graduation: 2004
Awards won: The Plymouth Marine Laboratory Prize for 'Best Marine Themed Honours Project'
“Never regret. Just be kind, work hard and try to focus on what you want – meditation helps.”
Plymouth is real, it’s hands-on, it’s alternative, it’s innovative, it’s gritty, and it’s a mariner’s paradise.
Plymouth makes you more passionate about the ocean and studying here kept me on the right path. I wanted to be by the ocean, I wanted to dive, I wanted to surf and I wanted to study with the best marine biologists in the country. Plymouth was fantastic for me and I will always love it. One of my favourite memories was fishing for sea bass at Whitsand bay at midnight. We lit a fire and BBQ’d the fish under the stars, telling tales of monster fish and pirates. You can’t do that at Oxbridge!
Life since graduation...
- Step one - Make some money because you usually have none after the third year of University!: I started a landscaping company in Plymouth called ‘Ace of Spades’.
- Step two – Get your first job in marine biology: I went to the Maldives for three years to work as a marine biologist for a hotel chain.
- Step three – follow your dream: I bought a 29-foot sailing boat, found some sponsors and sailed across the Pacific from Los Angeles to Fiji. For two years, I photographed some of the most remote underwater environments that I could find.
- Step four – Follow a girl: I moved to Bali with my girlfriend who was setting up the Indonesia Manta Ray Project. I ended up studying a PhD on the marine environmental impacts of oil and gas production in West Papua.
- Step five – Find your dream job: I moved back to London to work for Blue Marine Foundation.
I am Senior Projects Manager for Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), a charity which is dedicated to the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) and establishing sustainable models of fishing. Our office is in Somerset House, London but I spend a considerable amount of time at various project sites.
This year I am moving between several sites in the Mediterranean, where I work with small-scale fishermen with existing or impending MPAs. I travel often to Azerbaijan, where BLUE has helped create the first MPA in the Caspian Sea. The Caspian project goal is to save six critically endangered species of sturgeon and salmon from extinction. This is especially interesting to me as I spent my childhood summers on a sturgeon farm in California. I love sturgeon! I return to the Maldives occasionally to try to protect grouper spawning aggregations and promote marine protection.
As much I would like to spend all of my days knee deep in Azeri rivers or fifty meters down on a Maldivian reef or out fishing with artisanal gear in the Mediterranean, the reality of project management can be quite different. It is my responsibility to develop funding proposals and budgets and then ensure that these grants and donations are used as efficiently as possible (down to the last penny). Reporting must be accurate and timely. We are a small charity with a big impact so efficiency is key. Managing staff, consultants, collaborating organisations and fishermen can be very challenging and there is a fair amount of political engagement required on a local and national scale. I am expected to speak at conferences, attend panels, make speeches about BLUE’s work and, occasionally, put on a suit.
BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology
Have you ever wondered why animals live where they do, why coral reefs are so diverse, or how to conserve our increasingly threatened marine life? This world-leading degree challenges you to ask these questions and more