Our Team

A trusted source of objective advice and support for the future of sustainable, profitable fisheries.
Ship helm with sunset

Andrew F Johnson

PhD, Chief Executive

Andrew established MarFishEco (MFE) in 2018 after 12 years of working as a freelance fisheries consultant and academic researcher. The inspiration of MarFishEco came after Andrew’s experience working with a number of environmental consultancies that he felt delivered quickly, but often without the rigor of academic research. 

MarFishEco’s values and services therefore manifest from Andrew’s academic and commercial experience in more than 15 countries since 2006. Andrew received his PhD from the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, UK in collaboration with Marine Biological Association and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). His post-doctoral research was undertaken at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, USA. He is an expert author of the UN’s 2020 World Ocean Assessment (WOA) Drivers and Fisheries chapters and has reviewed fisheries research articles for 16 different peer-review journals and authored more than 20 of his own. His experience includes the development of sustainable fish farming and restocking methods in SE Asia, field evaluations of Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries management in South America, economic evaluations of industrial fisheries gear types, and national and international fisheries trade policy analyses in Europe and the USA. He is passionate about the importance of efficient and effective communication and believes that research and management approaches that balance the ecological, economic and social dimensions of fisheries are those most likely to succeed over the long-term.

Read more Close

Lois Flounders

Fisheries ecologist and elasmobranch specialist

Lois is MarFishEco’s elasmobranch specialist – equally as comfortable diving into datasets and policy documents as she is the ocean. Her experience spans multiple scales, from working with local small-scale artisanal fisheries through to collaborating with Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RMFOs). Her research has a particular focus on bycatch mitigation, investigating pre-capture and post-capture (gear modification) methods for minimising non-target catch.

Lois understands the nuances and complexities of working with fishing communities, having spent time conducting field research in Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles and Maldives, as well as working remotely with stakeholders within various tuna RFMOs. Her work also brings her closer to home – researching basking sharks off the Scottish coast during the summers and working on UK-wide sustainable development projects. Lois has an MSc in Marine Conservation from the University of Plymouth, and a BSc in Zoology from the University of Bristol.

Read more Close

Paige Roberts

Fisheries Ecologist and GIS Manager

Paige is a fisheries ecologist with a passion for environmental conservation and resilient, inclusive fisheries management. Her work combines research on fish diversity and abundance, small-scale fisheries catch and effort, marine spatial planning principles, and participatory fisheries management systems to support sustainable small-scale fisheries, especially in data-poor environments. Her most recent work includes developing a decision support tool for Somali fisheries stakeholders, designing systems for domestic catch data collection across the Somali region, and drafting fisheries management plans that incorporate fisheries science, local community needs, and government priorities.

Paige holds a MSc in GIS management from Salisbury University and a BSc from the University of Miami in marine science and biology. Between her experience in international fisheries development in the Somali region and Lake Victoria and her background in field research on fish and crabs in the Chesapeake Bay for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Paige has led a wide range of research projects across various fishery systems and geographies. Whether communicating the results of a river herring spawning study or the community benefits of limiting spiny lobster catch, Paige strives to ensure all her work is accessible to a wide range of audiences and finds that often, the most effective way to unlock understanding of complex analyses is through a well-designed map.

Read more Close

Sarah Stephenson

Climate and Marine Specialist

Sarah is a climate scientist with a penchant for marine systems. Her work at MFE largely focuses on blue carbon and its climate change mitigation potential. Sarah’s experience started in European forests and grew to the Arctic region, before recently settling in temperate marine fishery settings. Sarah has recently finished a UK wide climate-smart fisheries project and is now working on explaining the ecosystem service and public goods provided by shellfish in the UK. She is also leading the stakeholder engagement with our partners at EIFCA for the replacement byelaw for the Wash Fishery Order.

Sarah holds a MSc in climate change and managing the marine environment from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and a BSc in Environmental Geography from York St John University, England. Her academic research includes Arctic Ocean sensitivity to climate change with a focus on Air-Sea CO2 Flux sensitivity to changes in ice conditions. Sarah has a wide range of practical field and lab-based skills from various past projects. These skills include benthic survey methods using drop down cameras, snorkel and dive transect surveys, and using drone observations for coastal impact assessments.

Read more Close

Jordan DiNardo

Senior Fisheries Analyst

Recognizing fisheries as complex socio-ecological systems, Jordan strives to approach fisheries issues with an interdisciplinary outlook. Jordan’s interests focus on applying quantitative tools to improve our understanding of fisheries to support their management from different perspectives: single-species, spatial, bycatch, and incentive-based. Jordan’s specialties are data processing, exploration, and visualization.

She has experience working on a vast array of data, including commercial, recreational, and citizen science fisheries data from all over the world, as well as environmental and human subjects survey- and interview- based data. Aside from Jordan’s quantitative experience, she is fascinated by sustainable food systems in the context of food and nutrition security and enjoys exploring new disciplines, including nutrition and social science, both of which are inextricably linked to fisheries. Jordan is currently nearing the end of her PhD research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Read more Close

Dr Ruggero Urbani

Veterinary, fish processing and fish auction expert

Dr Ruggero Urbani is a Veterinary, fish processing and fish auction expert with a PhD in Inspection and Legislation of foodstuff. He has worked as an Officer of the Italian Health Ministry and a Senior Consultant for the FAO and Infopesca. As an expert Advisor he has worked in more than 25 countries over the last 25 years. His work focuses on the quality control and monitoring of companies selling and distributing seafood.

Ruggero has been responsible for authorizing, checking, and verifying buildings and facilities (new builds and extant operation) for storing and processing a wide portfolio of foodstuffs of animal origin including many different seafood types to ensure they adhere to European and international hygiene legislation. He also has considerable expertise in aquaculture biosecurity. Ruggero leads MFE’s work on processing site development and equipment procurement.

Read more Close

Chase James


Chase specializes in the design and development of clear and accessible data visualizations. As a systems ecologist, Chase feels most at home when data wrangling disparate datasets in order to illuminate linkages, uncover patterns and ultimately tell stories pertinent to the needs of our clients. He often spends his time exploring spatio-temporal trends in data through varied approaches including machine learning, time series analysis, and statistics.

Chases’ fisheries experience spans salmon returns in Alaska, business analytics for M&A and investment projects and socio-economic performance evaluations of some of the world’s largest fleets. Chase has a MSc from UCSD and is currently wrapping up his PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Besides research, Chase is passionately involved in capacity building programs that provide coding skills to graduate and undergraduate students interested in ecology and environmental management.

Read more Close

Taylor Irwin

Fisheries ecologist

Taylor is MarFishEco’s fisheries ecologist & habitat specialist. She has a wide range of experience from instructing courses for fisheries biological sampling and bycatch quantification with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to supporting marine conservation efforts in the coral triangle.

Taylor holds a master’s degree in marine conservation from the University of Plymouth and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on marine and coastal sciences. Taylor’s professional portfolio spans many different regions and although largely focuses on fish, also includes humpback whales and loggerhead sea turtles.

When Taylor is not working on fish and fish habitat work, she works on outreach and communication efforts with MarFishEco’s fishery clients.

Read more Close

Robin Strigner

Fisheries Field Specialist

Robin specializes in the design and execution of our at-sea activities which include due diligence outings on vessels, gear trials and environmental sampling programs. He is comfortable in all environments and thrives in conditions that others may stray away from. Robin understands the reality of fishing better than anyone – both the practicalities of going to sea and the business model and economics necessary to make fishing profitable.

Robin has led and coordinated scientific research and monitoring projects for inshore fisheries,conservation authorities (IFCAs) and long-standing research projects that include water quality monitoring and classification for environmental health, shellfish stock assessments, biodiversity and invasive species research and population dynamics studies. As such he is well versed in handling an extensive range of vehicles, vessels, and sampling equipment. Robin has a BSc in Biology and an MSC in Marine Environmental Protection from Bangor.

Read more Close

Priscilla Rivas

fisheries management expert

Priscilla is an expert in fisheries management, holding a PhD in International Law of the Sea from the University of New South Wales. With a focus on Port State Measures to combat IUU fishing in Pacific Island countries, her research provides invaluable insights into regulatory frameworks and strategic approaches. Building on her Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, Priscilla is adept at translating complex data into actionable insights.

Her commitment to sustainable ocean development is evident through her active participation in international forums and conferences, where she advocates for best practices in fisheries management. With a dedication to making a positive impact, Priscilla collaborates with colleagues and stakeholders worldwide to ensure the long-term health and viability of our oceans.

Read more Close

Alaina Smith

PhD - Fisheries Ecologist & Biological Oceanographer

Alaina is a seasoned data scientist with a strong foundation in environmental science and oceanography. She excels in analyzing, interpreting, and visualizing large spatial and temporal datasets to advance scientific research. Alaina’s passion lies in crafting data-driven narratives, making intricate data accessible to clients from all backgrounds to empower well-informed decisions.

Since her days at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa where she received a B.S. in Global Environmental Science, Alaina has been studying the effects of abiotic stressors on marine microbial communities through the use of theoretical and statistical modeling. Now with a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD), her research has advanced our understanding of microbial distributions, with broader implications for predicting the effects of climate change, fisheries management, and policy development. Beyond her research, Alaina is a passionate advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM and strives to increase the representation of women and BIPOC in the coding world. Equipped with a diverse technical skill set and a collaborative spirit, she’s eager to take on projects with a global impact on the environment and society.
Read more Close

Ana Delailomaloma

Tuna Expert

Ana is MarFishEco’s resident Tuna Expert. Ana is everything tuna! She has worked in the tuna industry for the past 25 years. Her vast experience includes sales & marketing,  project management, product development, tuna fishing assessments, processing & exports management & upgrades, quality & social audits, factory builds & designs, procurement, stock management & staff trainings.

Ana’s work experience has given her considerable exposure in terms of developing technical & commercial knowledge bases and Ana regularly advises some of the biggest players in the tuna industry. Ana has a comprehensive, international network of partners in tuna & bycatch export, import, processing & supply. Ana is a big advocate for sustainable fishing practices, quality seafood & value addition, & women’s empowerment in the fishing industry (particularly for the Pacific Island countries). Ana is driven to make positive change to women’s lives’ both from a socially & economic perspective.

Read more Close

Robin Pelc

PHD, Sustainable Seafood Certifications Lead

Robin Pelc is a sustainable seafood expert with a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.S. and B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University. Robin has a long history of collaborating with leading organizations in the sustainable seafood movement, project managing, contributing a range of technical writing and analytical skills as well as scientific reviews for sustainable fisheries programs throughout the world.

Previously, Robin was the Fisheries Program Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program. In this role, she developed the scientific criteria used to assess worldwide fisheries operations and managed the development of Seafood Watch assessments that form the basis of the program’s wild seafood purchasing recommendations. Robin has traveled extensively conducting field research on Marine Protected Areas in South Africa and Coastal Resource Management for the Pacific island nation of Palau among other far-flung places. Robin also has a keen interest in marine renewables and has worked closely with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on renewable energy research and evaluation projects.

Read more Close

Tara S Whitty

PhD, Engagement & Social-Ecological expert

Tara is responsible for MarFishEco’s social-ecological research and evaluations. Her experience comes from many years working with fisheries and conservation all over SE Asia as well as Mexico and Madagascar. As Gulf of Mottama International Advisor for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), her work has focused on capacity building for universities and organizations, supervising diverse research projects and coordinating the development of multi-stakeholder research programs, including a participatory project evaluation system.

Tara is particularly familiar with interactions between small-scale fisheries and marine megafauna, developing bycatch assessment protocols and evaluating bycatch-related conservation projects that look at risks to natural populations and effective and inclusive pathways toward solutions. She is passionate about inclusive conservation that represents those who rely on living marine resources for their livelihoods, as well as protecting the natural populations that are facing conservation threats.



Read more Close

Morgan Lord

Fisheries Ecologist and Stakeholder Expert

Morgan is MarFishEco’s fisheries ecologist specialising in the sustainable management and development of the Blue Economy. Growing up in a small fishing community, Morgan is acutely aware of the challenges associated with integrating profitable marine resource usage and conservation of marine biodiversity and ecosystems. Her work at MFE largely focuses on investment projects in fisheries and aquaculture. Morgan is also currently leading work on a UK-wide stakeholder engagement process to build an inshore fisheries database as part a Seafish, DEFRA & MMO collaboration for the ‘future of our inshore fisheries’ programme.

Morgan holds a BSc in Marine & Freshwater Biology from Edinburgh Napier University and a MSc in International Marine Science from Heriot-Watt University. Her academic research includes examining the effects of pile-driving playbacks on commercially important shellfish and economic evaluations and production potentials of co-located offshore aquaculture and renewable energy.  Her academic career and professional experience have allowed her to develop a robust skill set including report writing, GIS utilisation, statistical analysis and stakeholder engagement processes.

Read more Close

Lisa Max

Sustainable Seafood Sourcing Lead

Lisa’s background blends technical expertise in fisheries science and marine ecology with multi-stakeholder and expert process design and implementation. With over fifteen years of experience working within and across the non-profit, private, government and academic sectors, Lisa’s current work focuses on improving the scientific basis of sustainable seafood assessment standards to integrate ecosystem-based management, data-limited metrics, climate-ready practices and greenhouse gas emissions.

Most recently, Lisa worked with Fair Trade USA and conducted an expert review process to inform revisions to their Capture Fisheries Standard, drawing on seven years of experience as a Senior Fisheries Scientist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (SFW) Program. At SFW, in addition to overseeing a diverse portfolio of sustainability assessments and revisions to the Fisheries Standard, Lisa built and maintained multi-year international collaborations, designed and ran successful multi-stakeholder and expert workshops and directed the design and development of the Seafood Carbon Emissions Tool.

Lisa has master’s degrees in Marine Ecology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Environmental Management from Yale University, an undergraduate degree in Biology from Bowdoin College and served as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow as well as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Lisa has peer-reviewed publications spanning fisheries management, fisheries and food security and trade, coral reef ecology and the live fish trade.

Read more Close

Gregg Verutes

Spatial Analyst

Gregg brings a wealth of knowledge to MarFishEco with a background in spatial planning and ten years experience in conservation science design, he specializes in blending the fields of geography and technology to empower natural resource planners, managers, and analysts who are passionate about protecting the planet. Gregg has previously worked for The National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon and Stanford University and has consultancy experience in SE Asia, Central America, and Europe.

He has authored more than 20 peer-review publications and is special contributor on topics ranging from developing Belize’s first integrated coastal zone management plan and WWF’s Living Planet Report. At MarFishEco, Gregg builds decision-support tools to communicate sustainability science through data-driven visualization, game-based simulations, interactive storytelling, and machine-learning. He earned an M.Sc. from San Diego State University and a B.Sc. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University.

Read more Close

Elizabeth Hetherington


Liz is MarFishEco’s resident fisheries ecologist, with wide-ranging research expertise in open-ocean ecosystems with a heavy focus on the west coast of the USA. Her research has focused on determining habitat and resource use of marine species, particularly those of commercial value and/or conservation concern.

Her research has supported ecological and economic analysis of tuna fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, and the management of marine megafauna and their interaction with fisheries along the US west coast. More recently, Liz has conducted research on the economic and market opportunities of deep-sea ecosystems. Aside from research, Liz is actively involved with ocean science policy and advocacy work. She is well-versed in policy and governmental relations, particularly in the United States. Liz has worked at NOAA’s SWFSC and collaborated with other NOAA institutes since 2012.

Read more Close

Nicole Charlotte Yap


Nicole is a marine ecologist with a passion for adaptive management and conservation. Her interdisciplinary background spans data science, remote sensing, ecology, oceanography and environmental policy. She often finds herself wrangling large spatial datasets and visualizing data to understand patterns in animal and human behaviour. Nicole is keen to communicate science in creative ways to tell powerful and compelling stories. Nicole is excited about pushing the boundaries of research in the field by championing a transdisciplinary approach to innovating sustainable solutions to fisheries management issues.

Nicole has a MA in Sustainable Development (Geography) from the University of Edinburgh. She believes that research should be holistic and encompass ecological and socio-economic spheres for real change to happen. Her work at MFE to date includes seafood standard benchmark comparisons and public media reviews for the retail sector as well as evaluations of fisheries management schemes at local and ocean-basin scales.

Read more Close

Maria Hadjimichael

PhD, Policy Associate

Maria is MarFishEco’s resident policy expert having spent the last 13 years researching the human dimension of fisheries governance particularly within the European Union. Her PhD research focused on the North/South divide in Europe’s fisheries governance and her more recent experience includes projects at the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission and research with the Innovative Fisheries Management Institute in Aalborg University, Denmark.

Maria is vice-chair of the European funded COST Action OceanGov (Ocean Governance for Sustainability – Challenges, Options and the Role of Science). She has collaborated in and led interdisciplinary ocean governance FP7 projects including MYFISH, ODEMM, SOCIOEC, VECTORS and GAP2. Maria is passionate about understanding how different policies and conventions influence the privatization of marine space and the critical assessment of policy failures to ensure the environmentally and socially just usage of the oceans.

Read more Close

Rachel Labbe Bellas

Strategy & Business development

Rachel’s expertise covers both marine science and business development. Her ecological research has covered ocean advocacy and plastic pollution whilst her development and fundraising work includes scientific outreach for environmental business and nonprofits as well as her entrepreneurial role in the field of clean-tech and environmental impact. Rachel has worked in the USA, Canada, Brazil and Mexico and is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

She invests a lot of her time with MarFishEco as an external consultant and business advisor helping diverse teams develop research and corporate strategies to advance their missions, outreach and funding streams. To date, her business portfolio includes work with The Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, The Smartfin Project, the 5 Gyres Institute, AltaSea (Port of Los Angeles) and the Center for International and Environmental Law (CIEL).

Read more Close

Emily Miller


Emily’s expertise is in field-driven stakeholder engagement primarily in fisheries along the West Coast of North America. Her varied experience as a commercial fisherman, researcher in federal fisheries management and sustainability consultant give Emily a holistic view of seafood supply chain sustainability and informs her work in interdisciplinary strategy and effective problem-solving.

Organizational psychology, rhetoric, and scientific storytelling are components of her ongoing work in sustainability project management, and her focus is on bridging gaps of understanding and trust between disparate and directly competing stakeholder groups. Recent work with MFE includes a year-long project in Washington, incorporating the interests and requirements of tribal and state commercial fishers into a jointly beneficial strategy for coastal economic resilience. Additional work includes assembly of SWOT analyses and recommendations for investors of wild Alaskan salmon, based on the insights gathered from the creation of a trusted network of commercial fishers, managers, and scientists.

Read more Close

Katarzyna Majewska

Fisheries Ecologist and Stakeholder Expert

Kat’s involvement in sustainable development and stakeholder engagement is a lifelong endeavour. She is committed to studying the impacts of anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems whilst also using her expertise in stakeholder engagement to synthesise multi-stakeholder voices and design solutions to move towards positive outcomes. Her confidence in working closely with diverse industry stakeholders frequently allows her to identify and facilitate efficient information exchange even in conflict scenarios.

Kat holds a BSc in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Technology in Gdansk, Poland and an MSc in Marine Biodiversity from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. Kat is a qualifying member of CIEEM and a graduate member of IEMA. Her past scientific research has combined adopting benthic surveys to study blue carbon and reviews of the changing nature of coastal habitats and evaluations of seaweed recovery for UK shores. Kat also holds a MMO certificate.

Read more Close

Mia McAllister

Field-based fisheries ecologist

Mia is a field-based member of MarFishEco. Mia is an early-career marine/fisheries scientist with a keen interest and main research focus on elasmobranchs. She has led research into elasmobranch population ecology, including investigation of juvenile nursery grounds, and diet analyses in the Shetland inshore area. Mia has a range of field-based skills and experiences including but not limited to, elasmobranch tagging, otolith sample collection, and the collection and analysis of Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) footage.

Mia has strong fisheries survey experience and is especially familiar with working in harsh conditions characteristic of the North Sea. Living and working in Scotland’s northern Isles, Mia understands the challenges and value of cooperation with the local fishing community. Mia has a BSc in Zoology from the University of Edinburgh.

Read more Close