Meet the Team

By Fishermen : For Fishermen

Over two-thirds of our trustees are actively fishing – including owners of small and large fishing vessels, the rest of us are fisheries experts, including people working in the seafood supply chain, scientists, and economists.

We depend on the enthusiasm and dedication of our Trustees who volunteer their time to support and guide our work in addition to their daily navigation of the fishing industry, which in turn makes us more relevant and serve the needs of the fishing sector.

CHAIR: David Stevens - Fisherman, Cornwall

David Stevens is the current Chairman of Fishing into the Future. He has been a fisherman for 30 years and is the joint skipper of a family owned 24 metre fishing vessel based in Newlyn, Cornwall. He has always had a keen interest in undertaking scientific work and has worked on numerous projects to obtain more robust and representative data , working with Seafish, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). David looks forward to a future where scientists, industry and management collaborate for the long-term health of the fishery. David also sits on the FITF Executive Committee, providing more day to day guidance to the charity.

VICE CHAIR: Adrian Bartlett - Fisherman and Seafood trader, South Devon

Adrian Bartlett is currently acting as FITF Vice-Chair. He started fishing in 1987, working his way up from deckhand to skipper on crabbing boats and potters based in Kingswear, South Devon. Adrian has fished for crabs, lobster and other shellfish all around the UK coast, mainly within the tidal waters North of Alderney (Channel Islands). After working passionately within the UK seafood industry for over 30 years, he now shares his knowledge and passion with the UK public and chefs, to champion UK shellfish - and teach people how to "pick a crab" without fear! More recently he took on the role of Director at Ecomotus - an innovative tech solution working towards reducing the carbon footprint of the fishing industry. You can find Adrian at the Crabstock Shellfish Festival - engaging inland communities in seafood - and teaching people about the health benefits of eating British shellfish - as well as the social and economic importance of supporting the country’s fishing industry. Since 2015 Adrian’s pop up shellfish restaurant "Crab-Stock & 2 Smoking Lobsters" tours UK food festivals while he forms part of the "Crabstock boys" - demoing shellfish around the UK. Adrian believes that British shellfish is the best in the world and that we should do all that we can to keep all our wonderful, nutritious, sustainable shellfish on the menu. Adrian also sits on the FITF Executive Committee, providing more day to day guidance to the charity.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Emma Plotnek - Fishing into the Future

Emma Plotnek is a marine scientist with a strong interest in sustainable seafood and furthering the essential role fishing communities play in taking care of the seas around us, while managing their businesses and contributing to food security. She has experience working with capture fisheries and in the aquaculture sector, enjoys time on farms and at sea, working closely with local communities and major industries involved in the seafood sector. Emma is fairly new to the UK fishing sector after gaining almost a decade of experience abroad, taking her from Canada to Chilean Patagonia. Emma is now based in Dorset on the South Coast, taking on the role of Executive Director within this dynamic team.

TRUSTEE: David Anderson - CEO Aberdeen Fish Producers Organisation

Aberdeen based David Anderson prides himself on being able to engage and work collaboratively with people from all backgrounds in UK fishing. He is based in Aberdeen and is engaged throughout the ports of North East Scotland. He holds an extensive variety of roles; currently he is the CEO of Aberdeen Fish Producers Organisation Ltd, Chair of the North East White Fish Forum, Director of Scottish Seas Ltd, Director of the North and West Fish Producer Organisation, Director of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, Director of Seafood Scotland and Director of the Sea Fisheries Scotland Accreditation Group. Previously he has worked as the Liaison Officer with the Scottish Fishermen's Organisation, and as the Chair of the Scottish Association of Fish Producer Organisations, and Chair of the Scottish Industry Discards Initiative. He wants to use his knowledge, connections and experience to steer sea fisheries towards a better future and communicate the healthy, sustainable activities taking place in UK fishing that work towards a long term future and stability for the industry.

TRUSTEE: Jimmy Buchan - Retired Fisherman and Seafood Trader, Peterhead

James - better known within industry circles as Jimmy - left school in 1976 to start a career at sea as a deckhand - before going on to become a vessel owner. Having fished the North Sea most of his life, first as a whitefish skipper, and latterly concentrating on Nephrops, Jimmy has had a full and varied career across different sectors within the fishing industry. More recently he has built a seafood supply company “Amity Fish Co”, focused on quality seafood delivery through e-commerce, home delivery, and into food service. Jimmy has served on several industry boards over several decades which has helped Jimmy gain a wealth of knowledge. He took up a new role as Chief Executive Officer at the Scottish Seafood Association in 2017 and has continued to serve the industry using his knowledge and experience to promote and champion the processing sector.

TRUSTEE: Peter Bruce - Fisherman, Peterhead

Peter Bruce is a fishermen from Peterhead. He has been fishing in the North Sea for 43 years - with over 36 years spent as the skipper of the Budding Rose. His present vessel, Budding Rose PD418, was built in Campbeltown in 1990 . Peter has always championed and spoken up for the fishing industry over the years and one of his proudest achievements was being voted as "Demersal Fishermen of the Year" in 2017.

TRUSTEE: Hazel Curtis

Until recently, Hazel Curtis was the Director of Corporate Relations at Seafish, working at Seafish since 2000. Hazel led the Economics team until December 2018, contributing to many government and industry initiatives to help improve fisheries management and fleet efficiency. She developed a programme of economic data collection from the seafood industry and a programme of providing analysis, evidence and expert advice to inform business and government policy decisions. Her economics work at Seafish included impact assessments of key policy proposals and management measures such as the Landing Obligation. Hazel has been a member of the European Commission’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, providing official advice to the Commission, and from 2011 to 2015 was the President of the European Association of Fisheries Economists. In 2016, Hazel was also elected as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade.

TRUSTEE: Alexa Dayton - Chief Operating Officer, Maine Center Ventures at the University of Maine

Alexa Dayton built the Gulf of Maine Research Institute Marine Resource Education Programme – the flagship training programme for the GMRI. She now takes on the role of Chief Operating Officer at the Maine Center Ventures at the University of Maine. Alexa has been a leading member of the Fishing into the Future Executive Committee and a hugely valuable asset since the concept for Fishing into the Future was born in 2013. She has been instrumental in guiding the charity toward success and delivery in all areas, but she brings particular expertise in the area of Fisheries Education and encouraging collaboration across stakeholders. Alexa also sits on the FITF Executive Committee, providing more day to day guidance to the charity.

TRUSTEE: Sean Dennison - Fisherman, Orkney

Sean Dennison is both an active fisherman from Orkney and previously served as the Vice-Chairman of Fishing into the Future. He runs a 12m ‘vivier’ crab boat and represents the Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Association. Sustainability has always been close to his heart as a fisherman. He fishes for brown crab, lobsters and velvet crabs.

TRUSTEE - Hannah Fennell - Head of Orkney Fisheries Association & Researcher

As the Head of Orkney Fisheries Association (OFA), Hannah Fennell is based on Orkney Islands and comes from a research and science background, having previously worked as a researcher for OFA and for Marine Scotland. Aside from her role at OFA, she is currently working on a part-time PhD exploring the impact of static fishing gear and has previous research experience in socio-economic indicators in the fishing sector. Hannah has a unique set of skills as she holds a strong academic background but is also integrated within the fishing community, so she is well placed to support most areas of FITF’s work. She has a strong interest in improving the viability of small scale fisheries through increased opportunities and localised management to work towards thriving and robust, small scale fisheries around the coastline, where fishing is viewed as a valuable sector that young people want to - and are able to - be a part of.

TRUSTEE: Trevor Jones - Fisherman, Fish Farmer & Expert in Fishing Safety, North Wales

Trevor Jones is based in North Wales and has a diverse background in fishing and aquaculture. He has worked a variety of fishing gears (potting, netting, lining and trawling) on vessels ranging from under-10m to 43m. He is also involved in the development and operation of mussel farms – focused on scientifically based principles for best practices, and supporting postgraduate studies, that has culminated in the MSC certification of the Menai Strait Mussels. Additionally, he is an expert in fishing safety and training, working collaboratively in various committees and has been awarded a Merchant Navy Medal for services to fishing safety. Trevor was involved with Fishing into the Future since its inception, and wants to help the charity become more effective through meaningful engagement in supporting ecosystems-based data and informed, adaptive fisheries co-management. He hopes to see a more long-term vision of sustainability in the industry, drawing on experience from the Nordic regimes of fishing to improve practices.

TRUSTEE: Michel Kaiser - Chief Scientist and Professor of Fisheries Conservation, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Michel Kaiser is currently the Chief Scientist and Professor of Fisheries Conservation at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Prior to joining Heriot-Watt University, he was the Science & Standards Director at the Marine Stewardship Council and he was the Professor of Marine Conservation Ecology at Bangor University for 20 years. His research interests focus on techniques to achieve sustainable use of marine resources while seeking to minimise impacts on the marine environment. He is best-known for his expertise in fisheries ecosystems, data poor fisheries and the use of spatial management measures to achieve conservation and fisheries objectives. Throughout his career has worked at the scientific interface between fisheries and conservation. He has extensive research collaborations with seafood industries in the UK and further afield. Michel currently holds a number of public appointments. He is a member of the IUCN-Fisheries Expert Group and is an independent Member of the UK Marine Science Coordination Committee, he chairs the International Scientific Advisory Committee for the pulse-trawling project (Holland). Past roles include: independent board member of the UK Seafish Industry Authority from 2007-2105 and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee board from 2012-2017. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and has written or edited 5 books including Marine Fisheries Ecology and Marine Ecology: Processes Systems and Impacts - and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Fish Biology. In 2012 he co-convened the 6th World Fisheries Congress. Michel also sits on the FITF Executive Committee, providing more day to day guidance to the charity.

TRUSTEE: Jimmy Kelly - Fisherman, Portavogie

Jimmy Kelly is the owner of the fishing vessel Glen Bay II based out of Portavogie and fishing along the Northern Irish coastline, targeting whelk, lobster, and crab with creels. His previous fishing experience includes prawn trawling, scalloping, fishing for herring with semi-pelagic gears, and pair trawling for whitefish within the Irish Sea, Clyde and North Channel, as well as 20 years Government Service, which included skippering fishery patrol vessels along the North Irish coast. He was elected to the Board of the NIFPO representing the Under 10 metre fleet and represents local fishermen on the Inshore Fisheries Steering Group, he also sits on the Northern Ireland Fishermen's Safety Forum to promote a better safety culture within the industry – additionally Jimmy holds an NTSB certification as a Marine Accident Investigator, Ship Security Officer and Ship Safety Officer. He wants to improve management, understanding and information sharing, and is keen to encourage fishermen to help each other by cooperating with and learning from other industry stakeholders, and is keen to promote a co-management approach within the whole fishing industry around the British Isles and its territories.

TRUSTEE: Steve Mackinson - Senior Research Scientist, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association

Steve Mackinson began his career working with Canadian herring fishermen in the late 90s. It was then he realised that when science is not well connected with reality, there are missed opportunities for research and management. Ever since, Steve has taken a keen interest in building stronger collaboration among scientists, stakeholders and policy - and since 2016 he has acted as the first Chief Scientific Officer at the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association. His current role is to bring industry data in to the scientific arena so that it can contribute to the knowledge base underpinning stock assessments and research on changes in the marine environment. He draws upon 17 years’ experience at Cefas, working on fisheries acoustics, investigating changes in the North Sea food-web, ecosystem modelling and leading the EU-wide science-industry collaborative research projects GAP1 & 2 (www.gap2.eu). Steve has been involved with Fishing into the Future since its inception and has continually guided the strategic direction of the charity to build bridges between industry and science.

TRUSTEE: Ashley Mullenger - Female Fisherman, Wells next to the Sea

North Sea Fisherman, Ashley Mullenger – otherwise known as the female fisherman – is a relatively recent industry entrant working out of Wells next to the Sea. She is the owner of the vessel Fairlass, and she is currently a skipper in training on a smaller boat called Saoirse, which is predominantly fishing for Whelks, Crabs and Lobster. Her ambition for the future is to diversify into catching other types of seasonal fish for direct retail sales. Ashley swapped an office job for commercial fishing after spending multiple summers working on a charter angling vessel – and she is now on her way to owning and skippering her own vessel, as well as building up a massive social media following and appearing on various popular television shows to champion the work of women and men in the fishing industry working on small scale day boats. She is passionate about sustainable fishing practices and bringing locally caught seafood to UK markets, as well as promoting fishing as an attractive career to encourage new entrants into the industry. Ashley is community orientated and is vice-chair of the local parish council, a harbour commissioner, and involved in amateur dramatics when time and fishing permits.

TRUSTEE: Mike Park - CEO Scottish White Fish Producer Association

The exceptional experience and knowledge of Mike Park is already well-known throughout the UK fishing sector, and he has been an important supporter and contributor to FITF’s work since its inception. He previously worked seine netting and trawling in the North Sea, however, he currently takes on the role of the CEO of the Scottish White Fish Producer Association (SWFPA). He is also the Chair of Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group, which deals with the MSC certification of fisheries, the Chair of the Seafish Scottish Committee, and the Chair of Box Pool Solutions (a Fish Box provider to the catching sector). Additionally, he participates in the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation through SWFPAs membership, and is also a Director of Seafood Scotland. Mike lives in the small fishing town of Stonehaven with an office in Fraserburgh, with the main whitefish port of Peterhead nearby – however, he represents SWFPA members from as far afield as Oban on the west of Scotland to the Firth of Forth on the east coast. He is passionate about sustainability of fisheries, welfare and wellbeing of crew, the creation of sensible and workable fisheries management regimes, and the suitable training and education of young fishers. His vision for the future of industry is a well-balanced fishing sector that provides opportunities within a sound economic framework.

TRUSTEE: Alan Steer - Fisherman, Devon

Alan is a third-generation crab fisherman from the small fishing village of Beesands, Devon. He started fishing with his father whilst he was still at school, and by the age of 14 he had 20 pots around the shore catching crab, lobster and spider crab. In 1997, his father retired and he took over the day to day running of the business and skippering the vessel, Superb-Us. Alan has always had a strong passion for everything to do with the sea. When he is not out on the Superb-Us working strings of crab pots, he is out on a small beach boat diving for scallops or rod and line fishing for Bass. He feels strongly about providing a long term sustainable future for generations to come - both environmentally and economically. His role in Fishing into the Future (FITF) started in January 2013 when he was invited by the International Sustainability Unit (ISU) to sit on the Steering group to develop the charity and he has previously served as FITF Chairman, and is also the Vice Chairman of South Devon & Channel Shellfishermen.

TRUSTEE: Mike Warner - Seafood Writer, Trader and Fisherman, Suffolk

Mike Warner Freelance food writer, fisheries journalist and sustainable seafood consultant who more recently took on the challenge of building an artisan wholesale business - supply top quality, day-boat fish and shellfish from day-boats around the UK. Mike writes on all aspects of the commercial UK fishing industry and travels the country talking to fishermen and producers about the native fish and shellfish landed to our ports, taking these stories and relaying them to consumers, to better educate, inform and enthuse chefs, restaurateurs, food service and media professionals and the general public. He writes technical, creative and PR copy for commercial fishing and food/lifestyle publications and is a regular features contributor to Country Life magazine. Mike has a particular interest in the Under 10 metre, inshore fishing fleet and its economic importance, heritage and sustainability in the communities that it supports. He also conducts bespoke tours for interested parties to fishing ports and markets around the UK, where they get to ’meet the fishermen’ and are shown the 'net to plate’ story and the work involved in the sustainable harvesting of our seas. His blog ‘A Passion for Seafood’ has twice been shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers Best Food Blog in 2016/17. Mike is a Patron of the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, a Trustee of the charity Fishing Into The Future and Project and Business Development Manager for the Shellfish Association of Gt Britain. He is also an active member of the Guild of Food Writers.

TRUSTEE: Neil Witney - Fisherman, Newhaven

Based out of Newhaven in East Sussex, Neil Witney is the owner and skipper of About Time NN8, a U-12m trawler fishing for mixed species with one other crew member, actively engaging in working groups and committees to contribute to the future of the industry. He is committed to preserving the local community, small businesses, and local fishing heritage. Neil works with Fishing into the Future as a means to help secure a future for the industry, and feels it is important to pass on knowledge that benefits future fishing generations, and work towards transitioning the industry to something where everyone involved feels represented, and proud of what they do.