As an MSc student at York University in 2014, I spent the summer assisting HFIG with their potting survey that was designed to assess the effects of offshore renewable developments on the Holderness crab and lobster fishery. Although the work was second-nature to the crew of the R/V Huntress, they were incredibly supportive, patient and diligent during my first few trips where I got to quickly learn the ropes. I assisted with data recording, sampling live catch, and general deck area management on the vessel. I also helped with data entry and analysis shoreside, which gave me opportunities to learn a great amount of general knowledge specific to the fishing industry from general conversations with the scientists, crew and Bridlington based fishermen.
Following my internship, I went on to full-time employment with Bangor University in the School of Ocean Sciences. My sea-going scientific experience with HFIG was absolutely one of the main reasons I landed my first job, which was working as a researcher investigating the common prawn (Palaemon serratus) pot fishery in Cardigan Bay, Wales. I've remained within fisheries science roles since then, including crab (Cancer pagurus) and lobster (Homarus gammarus) fisheries research in Orkney and, since 2015, a full-time position based on the Isle of Man leading on research for the common whelk (Buccinum undatum), lobster, crab and Nephrops pot fisheries whilst also supporting colleagues in their work on the queen scallop (Aquipecten opercularis) and king scallop (Pecten maximus) fisheries in the Irish Sea. Over this period, I've spent several thousand hours at sea on surveys. I'm about to submit my PhD thesis on pot-fisheries science and management and enter a post-doctoral role continuing along with the same research themes.
I can honestly say that at every stage of my career so far, I can trace all of my success and expertise back to early mornings, long days and barrels of laughs on the R/V Huntress working out of Bridlington harbour. For me, it was a springboard into fisheries science for which I will always be very grateful.
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