The Team

We are a unique and highly motivated consulting firm dedicated to promoting sustainable utilization of natural resources through sound integrated management policies and practices. As a leader in this field, MRAG has a long and highly productive history of designing and implementing integrated resource management systems in marine, estuarine, riverine and floodplain environments.

MRAG has a substantial core staff of full time specialists, with a wide variety of expertise and practical and technical experience, providing a multi-disciplinary approach to every project. For over a decade, MRAG has worked in more than 60 countries for government agencies, including the US National Marine Fisheries Service and National Academy of Sciences; UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office; international agencies including the World Bank, United Nations Development Program; European Commission; non-governmental organizations; and private sector companies.

MRAG's capability to service an extensive array of resource management needs is further extended through our network of associations and collaborations with internationally acclaimed experts from academic institutions and other private organizations worldwide. MRAG has also initiated the formation of several consortia which have been successful in gaining major resource management projects.

Managing Director

Dr Chris Mees is the Managing Director for MRAG. He has worked in fisheries and natural resources management since 1983 and has working experience of many countries, including overseas in Kiribati and the Seychelles. Throughout his career he has occupied managerial positions requiring strategic development of the organisation, people management, and management of large multi-million pound programmes extending over several years. In his current position he develops business against MRAGs strategic aims negotiating partnerships for project proposals, and manages a large portfolio of projects.  He is project Director and manages a team responsible for the management of the British Indian Ocean Territories Marine Protected Area Regime on behalf of the BIOT Administration for which he is also head of UK Delegation to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Scientific Committee and the Technical meeting on quota allocation

Executive Director

Ian Payne is the Executive Director of MRAG as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Renewable Resources Assessment Group, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. His major experience is in fisheries, management of aquatic systems and environmental monitoring as well as programme management.  In particular, he has been an advisor on fisheries and environment policy and management as well as advisor to numerous governments and international agencies.

Recently, he has been involved in projects for the European Commission concerning the evaluation of the EU Data collection framework for DG Mare. In fisheries, Dr Payne has been involved in additional projects for the European Commission concerning the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) including: the role of subsidies, the evaluation of coherence of CFP third country fisheries agreements and EU Development Policy, the evaluation of all Member States data collection programmes for the needs of the CFP and the feasibility study and business plan for the EU Joint Inspection Service and Community Fisheries Control Agency.

Director

Robert Wakeford is a director at MRAG with extensive experience in a broad range of multi-disciplinary skills including fisheries resource management and policy, including, assessment of aquatic biodiversity, ecosystem-based management, fisheries biology and stock assessment, survey design and analysis, marketing and eco-labelling, statistical and empirical modelling, monitoring, control and surveillance, database design and project management. He has been responsible for the development and management of the core business areas and functions of the company, senior input on several major projects and development of new business. As director, he has led a range of EU projects related to the retrospective and prospective evaluations on the common fisheries policy, including its international dimension. His experience with stock assessment and fisheries management extends from high latitude industrial fisheries, such as those within Europe and the South Atlantic, to artisanal fisheries mainly within the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

Operations Director

Caroline Beddington is the operations director for MRAG Ltd. She has the overall responsibility for the operational management of the company. She also acts as a member of the editorial team for outgoing projects, specifically the editing and media related work for past European Environment Agency framework contracts. Caroline has over 30 years’ experience, with wide ranging roles in the publishing industry and with experience as a business manager and director in three different sectors.

IT Director

Conor O’Kane is the IT Director for MRAG. He has experience in the full cycle of software development; from initial systems investigation and analysis, to the building, implementation, and maintenance of systems. He has had particular experience in information systems at a regional level, in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. He project manages IT projects and the IT  components of all MRAG projects and that typically would include; implementing systems, and developing procedures for their use, writing reports and technical documentation, user manuals, training manuals and designing and conducting training courses.

Business Director

Don is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He has spent most of his career to date as part of the senior management team in a number of professional services organisations including CFO at AECOM UK/Europe and Commercial Finance Director at Temple Group. He has significant experience in negotiating and finalising agreements with clients, consortium/joint venture partners and sub-consultants as well as the development of project tenders and budgets, financial project management and overall business analysis. Don is also responsible for managing the Finance function at MRAG.

Associate Consultant

Robert Arthur is an Associate Consultant at MRAG Ltd. He has over 15 years' experience in social development which includes developing and applying frameworks to analyse how development interventions and local interactions determine access, control and management of natural resources and the ways in which policy issues are framed as a result. Robert has significant experience working internationally on issues of livelihoods, natural resource management and governance in the context of social and environmental change. His work has specifically related to understanding the dynamic interactions between people, institutions and natural resources supporting the development of appropriate policy and management responses. This has included sustainable livelihoods, rights based, institutional analysis and design and participatory action research approaches. 

Senior IT Consultant

Ali Barbari has over 10 years IT experience.  he has developed databases for fisheries management at regional and national levels. He manages the IT components of projects.  He has experience in implementing systems, and developing procedures for their use, writing reports, technical documentation, user manuals, training manuals and designing and conducting training courses.

Senior Consultant

Tim is a consultant at MRAG with expertise in fisheries science and marine conservation. He completed his PhD at Imperial College London in 2014, which focused on uncertainty in the management of tropical tuna fisheries, with a case study in the in the Indian Ocean. His areas of interest and expertise are tropical tuna fisheries and tuna RFMOs; plegaic and offshore marine protected areas; and management measures and policies directed at shark conservation. As a consultant, Tim has worked on a varied portfolio of projects both in the UK and overseas, with a recent focus on matters relating to (and emerging from) EU fisheries policy. He has experience coordinating large project teams and working with a diverse range of partners, including fishers, conservation practitioners, fishery scientists, Government representatives and private sector clients. As a researcher, Tim has particular expertise in the field of fisher behaviour, and has authored several peer-reviewed publications on fleet dynamics. Tim also has extensive knowledge of coastal marine ecosystems, initially developed through several years’ fieldwork research on coral reef systems in East Africa and the Indian Ocean and subsequently broadened by working on a variety of related projects for MRAG Ltd.

Associate Consultant

Thomas Franklin is an experienced fisheries and aquatic resource consultant, currently involved in the monitoring and surveillance of MPAs, quality control of regional fisheries observer programmes (ICCAT, IOTC and CCAMLR), and assessing the environmental impacts of fisheries. In addition, following increasing public demand for seafood to be responsibly sourced, he is responsible for evaluations of wild caught fisheries and aquaculture supply chains.

Based in Spain, Thomas Franklin also offers an extensive insight into the Spanish fisheries industry at both the consumer and supplier levels. He has extensive at sea experience, both in the monitoring and surveillance of fisheries, as well as scientific assessments of fish stocks, which has provided an excellent technical and practical knowledge of fisheries. He  also has a broad knowledge of international regulations and agreements, such as UNCLOS, UNFSA, PSMA and the various IPOAs, and how these effect fisheries on an international, regional, and national level.

Thomas Franklin holds BSc. in Zoology and an MSc. in Marine Science, obtained from Otago University in New Zealand. He is fluent in Spanish with a good understanding of Valencian.

Junior Consultant

Nicholas is a Junior Consultant at MRAG, his role mainly involves the data management and logistical coordination of the ICCAT and IOTC transhipment observer programme.  During his time with MRAG he has also worked on projects relating to IUU fishing, East African marsh fisheries and contributions to larger EU projects. Nicholas previously worked with The Wildlife Trusts Living Seas on the Irish Sea Nephrops fishery and tranche 3 Marine Conservation Zones.

 He graduated from Plymouth university with a BSc in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology, his final year project focused on using the National Vegetation Classification as a method for determining the success of floral community establishment in natural and anthropogenically occurring saltmarshes by drawing comparisons in community structure, distribution and succession over a 20 year period.  Nicholas is also a qualified commercial diver (BSAC - HSE Commercial diver, PADI – Advanced Open Water, Dry Suit Speciality).

Associate Legal Consultant

Stephen Hodgson is an environmental lawyer with a broad range of experience at an academic level and in practice, ranging from legal and institutional analysis, policy formulation and legislative drafting through to litigation and dispute resolution at national and international level. He has advised governments and NGOs in more than 40 countries around the world on many aspects of environmental policy including biodiversity and conservation issues.

Senior Consultant

Emi Katoh is a fisheries consultant for MRAG with experience in sustainable fisheries, resource development, and survey design, data processing, analysis and stock assessment. Since joining MRAG the focus of her work has been on sustainable fish procurement; eco labelling and standards analysis. She has completed her training for sustainable supply chain certification, is trained in MSC and ASC fisheries and Chain of Custody standards. As the audit manager, she is in charge of managing all MRAG Audit projects. She is fluent in German, Japanese and English

Principal Consultant

Rebecca Mitchell is a fisheries ecologist and research consultant at MRAG with extensive knowledge of fisheries management. She is an experienced senior project manager and strategic planner, with diverse overseas experience, and is a practiced contributor to international meetings, with highly developed meeting organisation and negotiation skills. Dr Mitchell’s experience spans various aspects of fisheries ecology and management, including tropical inshore reef ecology and monitoring, indirect impacts of small-scale artisanal fisheries, management and policy of larger-scale industrial Antarctic and European fisheries. Applied experience includes longline by-catch mitigation and precautionary spatial management for various benthic fish and invertebrate species; fisheries impact and risk assessment; stock assessment and monitoring; fisheries certification methods; observer programmes, RFMO conservation measure and policy development.  

Principal Consultant

James Moir Clark is a senior consultant with MRAG. James is an experienced trainer of observers, fisheries inspectors and field scientists.  He has experience working at sea in an MCS role as a designated CCAMLR Inspector and the Senior Fisheries Protection Officer on a patrol vessel operating in the British Indian Ocean Territory, he currently acts as the BIOT MCS Operations Manager.  He is also the Programme Manager for the IOTC and ICCAT Regional Observer Programmes as well as the Technical Coordinator for the UK CCAMLR Observer Programme.  He has worked as an observer on the IOTC ROP and in CCAMLR waters as well as participating in the annual groundfish survey around South Georgia and conducting marine surveys off the coast of Tanzania to establish baseline data for the construction of an LNG site.

Senior Consultant

Patrick Nugent is an Aquatic Resources Consultant at MRAG with professional experience in fisheries assessment and management, environmental management and fisheries information systems.  He has been heavily involved in the management and development of the ICCAT Transhipment, ICCAT bluefin tuna, and IOTC observer programmes, including developing training materials, implementing training, deploying observers, report writing and data analysis. He is currently Progamme Manager for the ICCAT BFT ROP, ICCAT transhipment ROP and CCAMLR observer programmes. He has EU experience through both the implementation of the ICCAT bluefin tuna observer programme in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and from the completion of a project for the Community Fisheries Control Agency analysing fisheries control information systems within the EU.

Principal Consultant

John Pearce is a Principal Consultant at MRAG Ltd. He has particular experience in monitoring, control and surveillance activities, risk analysis observer programmes and scientific surveys and the development and management of fisheries management systems and the analysis of fisheries data from commercial fisheries. John is also an expert in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and related monitoring, control and surveillance systems including the integration of related data into the decision making processes within fisheries management.  Mr Pearce has also been a member of the key internal team developing the MRAG risk assessment methodologies for fisheries and IUU in relation to the development and management of MRAG’s auditing and traceability work and has completed or overseen numerous risk assessments and currently reviews all fisheries and IUU risk assessments undertaken by MRAG.  Mr Pearce is a qualified MSC Fishery Assessment Team Leader.

Consultant

Hannah Richardson is a Consultant at MRAG with 2 years’ previous experience as a graduate consultant at AECOM where she was involved in developing and coordinating Environmental Impact Assessments for a diverse range of terrestrial and marine projects both within the UK and internationally. She graduated from Birmingham University with a BSc in Environmental Science with a Professional Placement Abroad and prior to starting at MRAG, completed an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. Her MSc thesis focused on the extent of species management programmes and the barriers that prevent the effective implementation of species recovery plans, which combined with her undergraduate degree provides her with experience in both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. 

Senior Consultant

Dr Skerritt is a consultant at MRAG. He is a quantitatively focused marine ecologist, experienced in methodological design, implementation, analysis and communication. He has a strong background in statistical approaches and applied research. His primary expertise are in shellfish management and research, acoustic telemetry monitoring, capture-mark-recapture and the spatial and temporal heterogeneities of catches.

Dr Skerritt has extensive experience implementing monitoring and research studies, gained over ten years within academia. During this time he contributed to numerous projects at various stages of development, such as scientific baseline surveys and monitoring of offshore renewable energy sites and advancing the quantitative basis of fisheries in order to promote evidence-based and sustainability-driven decisions. Dr Skerritt completed an MSc in International and Marine Environmental Consultancy in 2010 and a PhD thesis on the movement, abundance and interactions of the European lobster, in 2014. He has valuable experience of consulting and collaborating with key UK stakeholders including the MMO, the IFCAs and conservation authorities such as Natural England. He has conducted self-directed research and was PI on a recent NERC MREKEP project. Daniel has also spent time working with a conservation NGO in Greece, where he assisted with scientific monitoring of sea turtle populations, community education and stakeholder engagement.

Senior Consultant

Dr Steven Young is a Fisheries Consultant at MRAG Ltd. He is extensively involved in the implementation, management and logistical support of the ICCAT and IOTC Transhipment programmes and the CCAMLR Observer programmes, notably in implementing training, deploying observers, and report writing. He has previously completed a PhD in fish biology, and accumulated significant at-sea experience working as a fisheries observer on board tuna transhipment vessels, and fishing vessels operating in the Antarctic and around South Georgia. He has also worked as a client representative during marine ecological surveys for an offshore windfarm development.

Accounts Manager

Matthew Bradshaw is a CIMA qualified accountant and is the Finance Manager for MRAG Ltd. His main role at MRAG is the production of quarterly management accounts for board review including current profit and loss the financial year and forecasts for the current and future years and the current balance sheet and the ultimate production of accounts for annual independent audit. He also is responsible for a portfolio of projects of different types including costs management and raising of sales invoices against project milestones. 

Finance Administrator

Mrs Nicky Keoghan is a financial administrator for MRAG. Some of her chief responsibilities include helping in the organisation of training observers as well as being responsible for full financial administration and monitoring the observers’ travel, accommodation and daily expenses. She also manages a large European Commission framework contract and as well as the auditing projects and manages the confidential financial administration for these and controls costs and budgets. Nicky has responsibility for full monitoring and financial accountability of a portfolio of projects using systems that are adaptable to the particular requirements of an individual client and project.

Office manager and PA to MD.

Leila Volk is the office administrator of MRAG and PA to the Managing Director. Along with general office duties, she is also responsible for the upkeep of all internal administrative systems and files.