Scuba diving passion leads to conserving Morecambe Bay Fishery

Mandy KnottMandy KnottA postgraduate qualification from Bangor University was key to Mandy Knott clinching an exciting and vital job- and her first in a new career.

Mandy has the important task of working on a legislative measure which will ensure the management and conservation of the cockle and mussel fishery in Morecambe Bay.

She is liaising with stakeholders and others and preparing a Fishery Order which will regulate the fishery by licensing cockle pickers in the Bay, for the North West Sea Fisheries Committee, based in Carnforth. Sea Fisheries Committees are the bodies covering the UK coastline who manage and regulate the fishing industry.

Quite a task, which the former driving instructor relishes.

“It’s an interesting time to be working for the Sea Fisheries Committees. They are being handed more conservation duties so it’s a really exciting time to be involved and I’m really pleased to have been offered a permanent position,” she says.

Mandy took up scuba diving as a hobby in 1997, little realising that her new passion would lead to a totally new career. As her interest in diving increased, she began volunteering to do dive surveys- and realised she needed more knowledge.

Mandy Knott (right) (MSc Marine Environmental Protection. Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences) conducting shellfish fisheries management research in Morecambe Bay with colleagues from the North West Sea Fisheries Committee.Mandy Knott (right) (MSc Marine Environmental Protection. Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences) conducting shellfish fisheries management research in Morecambe Bay with colleagues from the North West Sea Fisheries Committee.A degree in Marine Biology with Coastal Zone Management was a beginning, and she was able to support herself with her driving tuition. But she realised that this was such a competitive field that she needed a further qualification to stand out. This led to a Post Graduate M Sc Degree in Marine Environmental Protection at Bangor University’s renowned School of Ocean Sciences.

“I’d met people who had graduated from the School through diving as a hobby, so was aware of their reputation,” she says.

“The course was well-rounded and provided a ‘paint-box’ of tools that you could take away with you for use in your future career,” she said.

She attended a Post-graduate Studies Fair, which gave her an opportunity to discuss the course she wanted to study at length, to get to know the course director and visit the facilities.

“The Fair provided an opportunity to meet the staff and discuss my options face- to –face and to get a feel for the place. It confirmed my decision to apply,” she says.  She was also keen to show her enthusiasm, and was lucky enough to gain a place on the course funded by NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council).

The next Postgraduate Courses Fair takes place on Friday 18 February 2011 between 12.30 – 2.30. Pre-register for the event online via the University’s website at: http://www.bangor.ac.uk/pgfair/contactus.php.en

Publication date: 10 February 2011