Can you tell us a bit about yourself: where are you from and where do you work?
I am originally from Cork on the south coast of Ireland. I now live in Kinvara, a very small coastal community on the shores of Galway bay in an area with stunning natural beauty. I work for the Marine Institute in Ireland leading a fantastic team of scientists working on demersal fish and Nephrops surveys, stock assessment, and scientific advice.
How did you get into the field of fisheries science?
Like many other in ICES community, my attachment to the sea developed during my childhood. By the age of six or seven I was conducting annual surveys of the fish and crabs in the rock pools of west Kerry where my family spent summer holidays. As a teenager I fished crabs and lobsters commercially.
My interest in fisheries and how science could improve sustainability developed further. After completing a degree in Applied Ecology from University College Cork in 1993 I did a PhD on the fisheries biology of squid species off the west coast of Ireland. During my PhD I developed strong collaborations with the fishing industry and various scientific institutes including the Marine Institute, IFREMER, and CEFAS.
How long have you been involved with ICES?
I was lucky enough to attend the Annual Science Conference (ASC) in 1993 when it was in Dublin because I had developed a computer app to help identify fish otoliths in fish stomachs. My first ICES expert group meeting was that of the cephalopod working group (WGCEPH), which took place in Cork in 1993; I went on to participate in several more WGCEPH meetings during the 1990s.
In late 1998 I started at the Marine Institute, after which I began participating in Northern Shelf and Southern Shelf demersal stock assessment working groups. In 2003 my focus moved to nephrops stocks and developing underwater television surveys and assessment methods for those. I also was an alternate in ACFM (the Advisory Committee on Fisheries management), one of the precursors to ACOM.
In all I have participated in around 60 different ICES expert groups and chaired or co-chaired 16 including the Working Group on Celtic Sea Ecoregion (WGCSE) and the Working Group on Nephrops Surveys (WGNEPS).
What are you expecting from your term as ACOM Vice-Chair? What's the most interesting thing about it?
I am expecting my term as ACOM vice-chair to be both busy and diverse. I am really looking forward to getting a broader perspective on the advisory system. I hope to learn a lot about stocks, fisheries, assessments, and management challenges in areas beyond the Celtic Seas. I am also particularly interested in collaborating with others to improve the quality assurance and to develop new and innovative advisory products.
What are your wishes for the ICES community?
As a scientific community we are working to provide the knowledge to secure the sustainable use of our seas. I think we also need to address sustainability of our advisory system. We need to attract the best scientists into the advisory system and develop and retain them.
In addition I would like to add the word "reproducible" to our lexicon. "Transparent", "independent", "quality assured" are already synonymous with our advice. In the near future I would like to see fully reproducible assessments and advice built on accessible and open access data.
The ACOM is responsible for providing scientific advice to competent authorities in support of the sustainable management of marine resources and ecosystems throughout the North Atlantic Ocean. It has one Chair and three Vice-Chairs.
Colm Lordan serves as the Vice-Chair of ACOM for a three-year period.