Deputy Chief Fishery Officer
Rob Clark, Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee
As a postgraduate student, with a sponsor to find, a colleague and I approached the local sea fisheries committee with a plan to work on their behalf, aboard lobster fishing boats. We gathered data alongside the fishermen to build a better understanding of the lobster stock and to identify with the fishermen possible management options. I enjoyed this immensely and learnt a great deal working at sea, so when I completed the research I stayed on to (briefly) work as a lobster fisherman; with this experience I gained a job as a fisheries officer, then a research officer, then a senior fisheries officer. I am currently deputy chief fishery officer and I have responsibilities for gathering and developing evidence to inform fisheries and conservation management.
What you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am fortunate to have a diverse working week; my day to day tasks vary immensely. Today, for example, I was looking at budgets and plans to develop organisational capabilities to meet new challenges when sea fisheries committees are replaced by inshore fisheries and conservation authorities in April 2011. These new organisations will have a focus on sustainable development in inshore waters; as such the MALSFMarine Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund RECsRegional Environmental Characterisation surveys - scientific research projects to assess the physical (geology), biological (ecology) and archaeological environment of a particular study area. will be invaluable in that process. Also today I’ve had meetings to review a European Marine Site Management Plan, been consulted on a national science advisory panel and liaised with stakeholders on a Marine Conservation Zone planning process.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job is working as part of the local community to seek solutions to the complex challenges of marine environmental management, particularly where this involves community participation in evidence gathering and decision making.
What skills/qualifications are useful for your profession?
There are a number of routes into becoming an inshore fisheries and conservation manager but the profession is highly competitive. Postgraduate degrees are common nowadays; the job is however a practical one and requires other vocation qualifications such as commercial boat handling.
Any other career tips?
Professional bodies such as the Institute for Fisheries Managers (IFM) provide information on becoming a fisheries officer and also they offer training and support to people wishing to enter the profession.
Update January 2012: Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee has been replaced by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, Rob continues to work there in a similar role.
Deputy Chief Fishery Officer
Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee
If you want to learn more about the new Sussex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority http://www.sussex-ifca.gov.uk/