After graduating in 1988 with a First Class Honours BSc in Applied Biology from the University of Wales, Cardiff, my early career was based around freshwater fisheries ecology (with a particular focus on salmonids). My early work included fisheries research (initially undertaking post-graduate research with Cardiff University and the Game Conservancy Trust, and subsequently working as a Fisheries Ecologist with the WRc environmental consultancy), as well as operational management (as Fisheries Strategy and Policy Advisor for Environment Agency Wales in Cardiff); and consultancy (as Senior Fisheries Biologist, for Golder Associates in Calgary, Canada).
My focus shifted to the marine environment in 2009 when I returned to the UK to take up the role of Stakeholder Manager for the Net Gain (North Sea) Regional MCZ (Marine Conservation Zones) Project, where I coordinated extensive stakeholder input and, in August 2011, led on the production of Net Gain’s final report to present the project’s MCZ recommendations to UK Government.
In 2012 I was invited to join the internationally renowned Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies (IECS) at the University of Hull as their Marine Policy Specialist. Whilst with IECS I was able to re-engage with the world of research and consultancy, and consolidated my position as a marine research scientist specialising in a range of complementary and inter-related topics including:
- marine policy;
- Marine Protected Area designation and assessment;
- understanding pressures and impacts from marine activities;
- the development of decision support frameworks and assessment tools (including understanding approaches for applying aggregation methods when undertaking marine biodiversity status assessments, development of the SPIDA tool to assess oil & gas infrastructure decommissioning options);
- and stakeholder engagement (including workshop design and facilitation).
When the University of Hull closed IECS at the end of July 2019, I registered my own company, Wolds Environmental Consulting Ltd, specialising in (aquatic) environmental assessment and management. My current focus remains on delivering high quality applied environmental research and support across coastal and marine waters. My recent work has included commissions for JNCC (a streamlined approach to marine ecosystem health assessment), for Ørsted (Annex 1 habitat compensation for offshore wind farms), and for EC/JRC Ispra (risk-based approaches to support MSFD monitoring).