A founding partner of MRAG in 1986, Sir John laid down the basis of the company by the development of a sustainable fishery for squid around the Falkland Islands. Through resource surveys and innovative management approaches he also created the underlying principles of the company for scientific excellence and rigorous analysis, which remain in place. Originally trained in economics and mathematics, he became Professor of Applied Population Biology at Imperial College in 1991. He has generated an extensive publication record and gained international recognition for his expertise in economic and sustainable management of renewable resources. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001, awarded the CMG for contributions to Fisheries Science and Management, and was made a Knight Batchelor for contributions to Science in 2011.
He left the company in 2008 to become the Government Chief Scientific Advisor (GCSA) for the UK, a post he held until 2013. In 2020, he took up his current role as Executive Chair at MRAG. His role as GCSA provided experience of policy analysis and development at the highest international level in all types of environmental and natural resource issues. For example, in 2014 he was honoured by the Government of Japan for his systematic analysis and risk assessment of the post tsunami impacts on the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
MRAG has always positioned itself in the role of international regulation and management, an area which has now been considerably strengthened by Sir John’s role.
Robert became Managing Director of MRAG in 2021 and is responsible for the development and management of the core business areas and functions of the company as well as managing a large portfolio of projects with experience in programme management, particularly of large EU framework projects. Between 2006 and 2010 he was Technical Director of MRAG Americas, where he was responsible for developing and implementing a range of projects in the USA and Caribbean region. Over the past twenty years, he has gained extensive fisheries management experience spanning high latitude industrial fisheries, such as those within Europe and the South Atlantic, to artisanal fisheries within the Caribbean, Africa and Southeast Asia. Robert has provided technical advice to the UK South Atlantic Fisheries Commission on the status of shared squid and finfish stocks between Argentina and the Falkland Islands in addition to contributing to the ICES and CCAMLR Fish Stock Working Groups.
Robert has been Project Director for a number of European Commission studies under several framework contracts including the provision of scientific advice for fisheries beyond EU waters and the retrospective and prospective evaluations on the Common Fisheries Policy. He has managed teams under several World Bank funded projects, including the West African Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP) and more recently South West Indian Ocean Fisheries (SWIOFish) Programme. As MSC Fishery Team Leader, Robert has led numerous global pre-assessments and full assessments under the Marine Stewardship Council and has become responsible for extending the business into the development of a wide range of Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) in many parts of the world including South America, Caribbean and SE Asia.
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.
Chris was previously Managing Director at MRAG. He has worked in fisheries and natural resources management since 1983, initially in Kiribati then Seychelles, and since joining MRAG in 1993 has gained working experience of many countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific oceans. He has also worked extensively with the European Commission. 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. He has developed business against MRAGs strategic aims negotiating partnerships for project proposals, and managed a large portfolio of projects. He is project Director and manages a team responsible for the management of the British Indian Ocean Territories (BIOT) 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 Compliance Committee, amongst others.
David is a Director at MRAG with extensive experience as a project manager in the fisheries sector, a wide experience overseas and well-developed organisation skills. David’s applied experience include providing an overview of the state of fisheries data collection and scientific advice and knowledge in support of fisheries management throughout IOTC Member states for the IOTC, and recently for the EU Commission for the nine outermost regions of the EU. David’s experience has also been in assessing the role of the Single Use Plastic Directive in impacting coastal management practices, including for the EU Commission providing a critical analysis of the problems and solutions in developing harmonised standards in the circular design of fishing gear, while for Defra developing a rapid evidence assessment of the current data and knowledge of Abandoned, Lost, or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear within the UK and globally. David also has an extensive knowledge of reef fish and fisheries conservation, with a specialty in understanding the role of climate change in impacting food security within the tropics. He has an extensive background in quantifying ecosystem health of tropical regions and the role of adaptive management in sustaining food and economic security. He has also undertaken key work identifying the mechanisms that result in successful co-management of tropical fisheries, while also determining the ecological and behavioural factors which may increase the vulnerability of marine communities to unsustainable fishing practices.
James has worked for a number of years on MRAG’s observer programmes for the regulation and surveillance of fisheries, both in the field and in a management role. He is currently Project Director for all the observer programmes, including the IOTC and ICCAT Regional Observer Programmes, monitoring transhipments in the Indian and Atlantic oceans, and CCAMLR, collecting scientific data in the southern ocean. He has previously acted as the UK Technical Coordinator for the CCAMLR Scheme of Scientific Observation in the Southern Ocean and in this role has been responsible for reviewing and updating it according to the requirements of CCAMLR. He has worked closely with a number of RFMOs and has attended a number of annual CCAMLR meetings on both the UK delegation and as the EU Scientific Committee representative, he is currently the UK Scientific Representative to IOTC.
He also has extensive experience of EIA and impact studies around marine infrastructure projects, such as around a number of oil pipelines and in the preparation of ESIAs for liquid natural gas terminals on the coast of East Africa as well as impacts related to loss assessments on fish and fisheries around oil spills and maritime accidents. These involve conducting surveys and collecting data, both on the resources and also the social dimensions with regards to both artisanal and commercial fisheries with surveys post oil spill assisting with the assessment of any claims made. Areas worked in this role include Tanzania, Brazil, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Indonesia.
Caroline is part of the senior management team at MRAG with responsibilities for Operational Management of the company and HR. Caroline has a BSc in Biology and over 25 years’ senior management and business experience. Prior to joining MRAG in 2005 she held senior roles in scientific and professional publishing.
Conor has been in charge of developing all MRAG IT systems, as the company has expanded, since 1999. Currently he is the IT Director at MRAG with experience of the full cycle of software development; from initial systems investigation, mapping and analysis, to the building, implementation, and maintenance of systems. This expertise has also enabled him to participate in and manage a wide variety of projects with a significant IT component. As a result, he has gained particular experience in information systems at a regional level, in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific, including long term projects in Namibia and Botswana. This has included work for many of the international agencies such as the EU and regional fisheries organisations such as IOTC and ICCAT.
Currently he manages all IT projects and the IT components of MRAG projects which typically includes; implementing systems, environmental and fisheries information systems (FIS) and developing procedures for their use, writing reports and technical documentation, user manuals, training manuals and designing and conducting training courses.
He is currently the management representative for the MRAG ISO 9001 and 14001 certification.
Sérgio is an Associate Consultant at MRAG Ltd, with an MSc in Fisheries and Aquaculture and a 5 years Licenciate Degree in Marine Biology. He is an experienced fisheries consultant and has worked since 2008 as an external consultant for MRAG and has been involved in various projects covering a wide range of subjects and geographic locations, with responsibility for desk-based research, qualitative and quantitative analysis, data collection via a range of methods, literature reviews, technical report writing and review, observer work. He is currently responsible for conducting a range of observer briefings and debriefings, training and supervising the activities carried out by Portuguese and / or Spanish nationals. Activities include being a local focal point in Portugal, issuing necessary observer equipment and documentation and reviewing observer deployment outputs. He has extensive at-sea experience, and accumulated significant at-sea experience while working as a fisheries observer on board tuna fishing vessels, tuna farms and several at-sea research surveys. This experience has provided an excellent technical and practical knowledge of fisheries. He has previously worked for the Portuguese Institute of Fishery Research, as a marine biologist with a grant by the Portuguese National Program for Biological Sampling PNAB (Project co-funded by the European Commission). He is fluent in Portuguese (mother tongue), English, French and Spanish. He has very good social skills and used to work in different types of environments.
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.
Ali Barbari is a Senior IT Consultant with 20 years’ experience as a Database and Systems Administrator. He is in charge of developing, testing and implementing MRAG IT systems. Highly experienced at installing and maintaining Linux/Windows servers, disaster recovery, improving server security and maintaining system integrity to ensure a secure and smooth running of operations.
Currently he manages projects with all their IT Components which includes: implementing systems such as environmental and fisheries information systems (FIS); developing procedures for their use; writing reports, technical documentation, user manuals and training manuals; designing and conducting training courses and 1st/2nd/3rd level technical support.
His expertise has enabled him to participate in and manage a wide variety of projects and has gained particular experience in information systems at a national and internaltional level, in Europe and Africa. This has included work for many of the international agencies such as the EU and regional fisheries organisations such as IOTC and ICCAT.
Joseph had been a Scientific Observer with MRAG across multiple programmes for over three years, now utilizing his experience in co-ordinating fishery observer programmes. He is currently project manager for the CCAMLR krill programmes, which includes recruitment, training and development of materials as well as managing observers at sea. He also supports management of the Falkland Islands Loligo fishery observer programme, with 16 observers deployed over two fishing seasons a year. He also works with logistical planning of the ICCAT and IOTC regional transhipment, ICCAT Bluefin tuna observer programmes and other observer programmes related to CCAMLR. Joseph Graduated from Greenwich University after studying Fisheries management and Aquaculture and has worked internationally on commercial RAS farms for the five years previous from Malawi to Palau.
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.
Nicholas is a Consultant at MRAG, and is the project manager for both the IOTC (Indian Ocean) and ICCAT (Atlantic Ocean) Regional Observer Programmes on transhipment. As part of a small team, this involves ensuring that the programme runs efficiently through the recruitment, selection and training of observers, logistical coordination for these programmes and fulfilling data and reporting obligations to the RFMOs and CPCs. The programmes through the monitoring of transhipments at sea contribute to the traceability of the fisheries supply chain, discourage IUU fishing practices and support compliance with the RFMOs recommendations and resolutions on fishing for tuna and tuna-like species. During his time with MRAG he has also worked on projects relating to IUU fishing and developing Port State Measures to combat it, 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.
Imogen joined MRAG as a Consultant having graduated from Bangor University, with an MSc in Marine Biology. As part of her MSc Thesis, Imogen analysed the spatio-temporal variation of benthic community structure of reefs surrounding Grand Cayman, over a 30-eyear period. This work aimed to inform the efficacy of current management strategies, as well as highlight long term trends in particular species groups within the Cayman Islands. Imogen has also worked for the non-governmental organisation Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute as part of their marine team. Here, her work focussed on both environmental and socio-economic objectives, including assisting local communities to improve their fishing practices, re-designing survey methods and collaborating with other local organisations in wider conservation goals.
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.
Pippa joined MRAG as a Consultant from the Marine Management Organisation, where she worked extensively on marine protected areas (MPAs) across the EU and the UK. She offers analytical strengths in GIS and is experienced in conducting multi-criteria evaluations to aid decision making within the marine environment. These have been employed in the analysis of VMS data sets over spatial and temporal scales within fisheries programmes and in the development of a risk-based monitoring approach for the prevention and early detection of marine non-indigenous species in the North East of England. Her experience also spans internationally, working within UK Overseas Territories to implement a marine recreation licencing scheme aimed at managing human interactions with resident and migratory marine megafauna. Further on the implementation of a seaweed aquaculture ‘Alternative Livelihoods’ programme in Madagascar in both environmental and socioeconomic objectives.
Kimi joined MRAG in 2019, following her MSci in Marine Biology, and is part of the observer team, assisting with the running of the technical programmes. She helps to facilitate the preparation of MRAG’s observers prior to deployment, making sure they have the correct equipment and recording forms, updating manuals and other materials where necessary. Kimi is involved in many of the observer programmes, primarily the IOTC and ICCAT regional transhipment programmes, Falkland seals programme and ICCAT bluefin tuna programme, whilst also assisting with others where needed. This involves many roles from managing logistics and liaising with vessel operators and agents, to maintaining databases and checking data and reports.
Mangi is a Principal Consultant at MRAG and an Environmental Economist with over twenty years’ practical experience in conducting social and economic impact assessments, evaluating different fisheries management tools (restrictions on gears, fishing effort and closed areas) in sustaining fisheries, and quantification and valuation of ecosystem services. His research links marine ecology with economics thereby bridging the gap between scientific research and management of ecosystems. He has in-depth understanding of marine ecosystems management and keen on environmental, social and economic research that includes engagement at all levels with the local community, industry, managers, scientists and interest groups. His research interests are in pressing issues including fisheries, marine conservation and global climate change and resource user conflicts. He has considerable experience of managing cross-institutional and interdisciplinary projects in the Western Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, United Kingdom and Caribbean Sea.
Patrick has principle responsibilities for projects in fisheries monitoring and management, environmental management and fisheries information systems such as the logistical organisation, management and development of the ICCAT Transhipment, ICCAT Bluefin Tuna, and IOTC regional observer programmes. Training at-sea observers has also been a strength including development of training materials, implementing training, as well as observer deployment programmes, reporting and data analysis, he has also brought this skill to developing training materials for Port Inspectors. From 2014 to 2018 he was the programme manager of the ICCAT Transhipment ROP, ICCAT Bluefin Tuna ROP as well as the South Georgia observer programme. Consequently he has represented ICCAT in their observer programmes at a number of intergovernmental meetings, conferences and expert workshops. MRAG takes a progressive approach to fisheries surveillance and Patrick has been involved in testing electronic monitoring (EM) and has managed EM projects including an extensive audit against an ISSF EMS standard with the development of a business case for EM in the Ghanaian tuna purse seine fleet, and a current project investigating the use EM to assess compliance with the landing obligation on pelagic trawlers. He is also an experienced lead auditor for MSC Chain of Custody, social standards (SA8000) and quality management (ISO9001) and has performed a number of traceability audits on tuna, salmon and herring processors against bespoke client standards.
Harry is a Senior Consultant at MRAG with extensive experience in the fisheries sector. His career began in Nepal, working on polyculture as a means to improve food security. Subsequently, his focus has shifted more towards offshore marine capture fisheries and the seafood sector. He has worked on board commercial fishing vessels as a scientific observer and within the seafood industry more widely, where he has assisted companies with their Corporate Responsibility Strategies (CRS). Within this sphere Harry won a People Environment Achievement award in 2016 for his work on ‘Ghost Gear’ recycling and in the same year joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative’s Steering Group (2016 – 2019). At MRAG Harry has gained significant experience working on a broad range of projects, both as a technical expert and as project manager. Recently, he has managed a number of projects for UK government bodies including an evaluation of the environmental benefits delivered via the EMFF, and an innovative co-design project looking at defining the principals of ‘low impact’ fishing. More broadly, Harry has worked across a range of projects and his applied experience includes fisheries monitoring and management, eco-label auditing, socio-economic analysis, fisheries liaison, and social and environmental risk assessment creation and implementation.
Previously Managing and Executive Director at MRAG, 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 project and programme management for the European Commission, amongst others, 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. He has considerable experience in the aquaculture sector including the design and management of production facilities, in both warm and cold waters, and the environmental impacts of aquaculture with respect to monitoring, auditing and certification. This extends into a wide experience of EIAs in marine and freshwater environments.
John is a Principal Consultant at MRAG. He has particular experience in IUU fishing, 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 has expertise in fisheries management planning and the development of fisheries management and MCS plans and strategies. John 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. He has also been an MSC Fishery Assessment Team Leader.
Rupert joined MRAG as a consultant after having graduated from an international Erasmus MSc, where he studied the management of marine biological resources in Ghent, Faro and Galway. Specialising his research interests in fisheries management methods and concepts, Rupert’s MSc thesis reported on the potential loss of genetic diversity of a threatened European species of seahorse. Having worked on various marine research projects around the world, including as a fisheries observer on the small scale fleet of northern Cyprus, and other data-collection based projects in the Seychelles and Mexico, Rupert is committed to supporting global conservation efforts by utilising and analysing evidence-based data for effective decision making.
Andrew is a Senior Consultant at MRAG. He is an interdisciplinary scientist with 10 years of experience across ecology, fisheries, and socio-economic disciplines, having completed his PhD at Newcastle University in 2018. Andrew has extensive experience working in data-poor and capacity-limited settings, he has a specific interest in the application of foundational ecological and economic theory to situations with extreme data limitations.
Before joining MRAG, Andrew’s work focused on anthropogenic (human) impacts on the environment, especially the impacts of fisheries, offshore construction, and tourism, with a particular interest in marine megafauna (marine mammals, sharks, rays, large bony fishes, and sea turtles). His work has ranged from the North Sea to the coasts of East Africa and South America. He is proficient in Frequentist and, more recently, Bayesian statistics for both numerical and textual data, using both traditional and machine learning approaches. Andrew has a strong track record of collaborative work in diverse inter-cultural teams and at the interfaces of industry, government, NGOs and academia.
As a Consultant at MRAG, Andrew has become highly experienced in the coordination and implementation of scientific observer programmes in major fisheries around the World. He has extensive at-sea experience and is currently an integral part of the MRAG observer management team with a particular focus on the CCAMLR toothfish programmes where he has worked previously as an observer. He also assists with the coordinating other programmes, the ICCAT and IOTC Regional Observer Programmes, the IOTC Regional Observer Scheme and the ICCAT programme monitoring Mediterranean bluefin tuna. He has previously managed the observer programme for European Union vessels operating in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) regional area, for MRAG. Andrew has extensive experience of tuna longline and purse seine fleets, having operated as senior scientific observer and Senior Fisheries Protection Officer (SFPO) in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and currently provides technical and practical advice on enforcement, monitoring, control and surveillance within the BIOT Conservation Management Plan. In addition, Andrew is a qualified teacher of science and biology, having taught for a number of years in both public and state secondary sectors to Advanced Level and is involved in the development and coordination of MRAG’s fisheries observer training programmes.
Catherine Whitley is a Consultant at MRAG with two years’ professional experience delivering sustainable fisheries management and stakeholder engagement. After completing a BSc in Marine Biology at Newcastle University, Catherine worked at the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) as the UK Project Coordinator. Here, she specialised in building strong stakeholder relationships and conducting investigative research on the Lyme Bay fishery, as well as managing logistics for all BLUE projects and various BLUE events. Skilled in conducting literature and policy reviews, Catherine is also experienced in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis (SPSS and QGIS) to inform effective management for various inshore fisheries. After completing an MSc in Marine Conservation from the University of Plymouth, Catherine joined MRAG in January 2021 where she will continue to channel her interests in fisheries management on a global scale.
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.
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.
Nicky is a financial administrator at 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.
Leila joined MRAG in 2015 and is MRAG’s Office Manager with over ten years’ experience as an Office Manager and twenty years as an Administrator. Leila deals with all travel and logistic arrangements for staff at MRAG including assisting the Observer team with travel and accommodation arrangements for Observers. She is responsible for the upkeep of all office and building schedules and internal administrative systems, including ISO records for Environmental and H&S/Building control. Leila is also part of MRAG’s development team.