Meet the Team

The GearingUp project represents a unique blend of expertise, from fisheries science and industry-led innovation to dedicated fisheries-focused communications. Fishermen are at the heart of this project: the success of the tool will be determined by input from those who know fishing best – the fishing industry.

Tom Catchpole - Cefas

Tom is a Principal Fisheries Science Advisor at Cefas and is heavily involved in research in the fields of fishing gear, fisheries data and discard survival. Through his extensive work on discards and gear innovation, Tom felt it was too hard for fishermen to gain access to practical information on gear modifications that were being regularly tested at sea. Tom developed the idea of GearingUp: a tool which combines scientific & industry-led research on gear trials into one online platform, so fishermen can make informed decisions about modifying their own gear.

Harriet Yates-Smith - Mindfully Wired Communications (MWC)

The team at MWC are fish-fanatic marine communicators: working with fishing industry, government and the environmental sector on a range of projects focused on sustainability at sea. As Project Manager for the communication activities around GearingUp, Harriet is coordinating web development, events, data handling and social media.

Katrina Ryan - Mindfully Wired Communications (MWC)

The team at MWC are fish-fanatic marine communicators: working with fishing industry, government and the environmental sector on a range of projects focused on sustainability at sea. Katrina leads on communications strategy and is providing event support.

Rebecca Skirrow

Rebecca works for Cefas as an Onshore Fisheries Observer based in Scarborough. Day to day she has regular contact with the fishing industry, visiting local ports to collect fisheries data. Rebecca became involved with the Gearing Up project in addition to her regular work and since then she\'s been invaluable in helping to make the data within the tool the best it can be. She\'s also been instrumental in helping to implement changes and additions to the tool which will help improve usability.

Stuart Hetherington - Cefas

As a Marine Biologist, Stuart invests his time in making things happen through collaborative research between fishermen, scientists and other stakeholders to collect data to better inform policy decisions, rather than the more traditional approaches of fisheries science.  His current research expertise relates to by-catch, discard survival, movement and distribution of species of political and conservation interest, specifically common skate, spurdog, thornback ray and porbeagle

Stephen Mangi - Cefas

Stephen’s research links marine ecology with economics thereby bridging the gap between scientific research and management of ecosystems. He has spent time reading and extracting data and information from papers and reports on gear trials to populate the gear selectivity manual which is the basis of the GearingUp tool. His recent work has included assessing strategies for using discards not destined for human consumption, reviewing the applicability of different approaches and technologies to catch documentation in fully documented fisheries, and assessing existing opportunities among inshore fleets to enhance industry-led data collection

Our Partners

Tool design & build


Darren Williams is the Managing Director of Dewsign, the full service digital design consultancy creating the GearingUp tool and website. Dewsign have a natural flare for taking broad and complex project ideas and making them into a reality. By immersing himself into the project, and facilitating one of our industry workshops, Darren and his team are helping to create a tool that connects and engages each individual user, making it easy to use and navigate.

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Funding Fish

GearingUp is funded by Funding Fish – a grant-making collaborative dedicated to achieving sustainable fisheries in Europe. The central mission of FundingFish is to ensure successful implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Recognising that CFP implementation represents real opportunities for progress, yet also significant challenges, the collective of philanthropic foundations came together in 2015 to work more closely, pool resources and support projects which address those challenges.

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GearingUp also benefits from contributions from the DiscardLess, a Horizon 2020 project, which aims to provide the knowledge, tools, and methods required for the successful reduction of discards in European fisheries and also Defra (the UK government department responsible for safeguarding the natural environment).

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