One Day Symposium

  • Mon 8 Jul 24

    09:00 - 17:00

  • Colchester Campus

    STEM 3.1

  • Event organiser

    Life Sciences, School of

Share, learn, discuss.

At this event, we will be showcasing the latest in seabass science and providing a forum to bring scientists, anglers and policymakers together for a morning of talks and an afternoon of workshops, we want to hear all your voices and ideas.

Book your place

The event is FREE and includes lunch and refreshments. If you cannot attend in person, you can book to join us online instead. We will be looking at such topics as bass movements and habitat needs across their entire life cycle, stock and fisheries management perspectives, as well as the impacts of climate change and their shifting distribution. We will discuss the more surprising places that bass are being found, as well how anglers can participate in science and policy change. A full schedule for the talks and workshops will be available shortly.

For the latest information please follow this webpage, but please also feel free to email us on c.connell@essex.ac.uk.




Join us from 9am to 5pm for a morning of talks and an afternoon of workshops. 

Dr Kieran Hyder (Cefas)

Kieran Ryder profile picture

Dr. Kieran Hyder will be giving the keynote talk, Kieran Hyder is a Principle Fisheries Scientist at Cefas, which is part of the UK government. His research centres on the application of science to support policy and management of fisheries. Kieran leads research on sea bass genetics, connectivity, nursery grounds, spatial modelling, and fisheries assessment. He provides advice to Defra on sea bass and contributes to the stock assessment done by ICES. A lot of his research has focused on impacts and benefits of marine recreational fisheries, and he chairs the ICES Working Group on Recreational Fishing Surveys. He holds an Honorary Senior Lectureship at the University of East Anglia and has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers.

Dr Thomas Stamp (University of Plymouth)

Thomas Stamp profile picture on a boat with a grey sky and sea behind him

Dr Thomas Stamp is a Post Doctoral Research Associate in the School of Life Sciences at University of Plymouth. In collaboration with the Devon and Severn IFCA and Plymouth university, Thomas completed his PhD in 2020 on European bass movements and habitat use within estuaries. This work ranged from: yomping across miles of muddy saltmarsh with nets a fyke net, to tracking the movements of juvenile fish using acoustic telemetry. Since then, Tom has helped co-develop one of Europe’s largest fish tracking surveys and continues to work on European bass (among other species), to answer applied fisheries management questions at both regional and international scales.

Dr Mike Ladle (Bass Angler)

Mike profile picture holding bass in front of a sea view

Mike lives in Dorset and is now retired. He has a PhD in Marine Ecology and is a lifelong angler. For almost forty years he carried out ecological research on the fish and invertebrates of chalk streams and published many scientific papers and magazine articles as well as a number of books including the popular “Operation Sea Angler” and “Hooked on Bass”. He has also lectured extensively and still goes fishing whenever he gets the chance. His website, Operation Sea Angler, now extends to thousands of pages on many aspects of angling and the related biology of marine fishes.

Dr Susanne Tanner (University of Lisbon)

Woman smiling for a profile picture with her head tilted to the right and glasses on her head

Dr Susanne Tanner is a senior researcher at the Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE) and an adjunct Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal. Her research focuses on 1) estimating fish population structure and connectivity, mainly using chemical markers as well as by integrating different natural markers and modelling approaches; and 2) assessing the impacts of climate change and fishing on growth variability, fish population and marine ecosystem productivity. She is part of a multidisciplinary team investigating movements of adult European seabass into fully freshwater environments, a movement behavior recently described for the Tagus River (Almeida et al. 2023). By combining acoustic telemetry, otolith chemistry and genetics the team aims to better understand the diversity of seabass freshwater incursions and its importance for the population.

Dr Mathieu Woillez (French Institute for Ocean Science)

Mathieu Woillez holds a master's degree in agronomy, with a major in fisheries science, from the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Center of « L’Institut Agro Rennes-Angers » (2001) and a doctorate in geostatistics from the Geostatistics Center of « Mines Paris – PSL » (2007) on the spatial analysis and modeling of fisheries survey data. He is a researcher in marine ecology and fisheries science at DECOD Unit Research (Ecosystem dynamics and sustainability: from source to sea), Ifremer, Brest. His current research focuses on fish movement and behaviours, spatial structure of fish populations, characterisation of essential fish habitats and their connectivity and spatial dynamics of fish resources. He is involved in seabass stock assessment at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the international research body that provides scientific advices on the management of fish stocks to the European Commission.

Dr Christina Hunt (University of Portsmouth)

Dr Christina Hunt

Dr Christina Hunt is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Portsmouth. She is currently working on the ‘Competitive Angling as a Scientific Tool’ project, a partnership between the University of Portsmouth, Angling Spirit and Southern IFCA. The project utilises data collected during the annual ‘Sea Angling Classic’ competition in the Solent, which is run as a catch-photograph-release competition. The aim of the project is to increase our knowledge of the biology and ecology of fish species that are considered data deficient within the Solent, including European seabass.

Dr Ciara Wögerbauer (Inland Fisheries Ireland)

Dr Ciara Wögerbauer

Dr Ciara Wögerbauer is research technician within the Marine Team in Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). IFI is the environmental agency responsible for protecting, managing, and conserving Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources. Ciara has a background in Zoology and a PhD in Aquatic Ecology. Within IFI’s Marine Team, she works on three programmes: the National Bass Programme, the Tuna CHART bluefin tuna data collection programme and the Marine Sport Fish Elasmobranch Tagging programme. Common themes across her work are citizen science and mark-recapture tagging.  Ciara's research interests include Irish juvenile bass nurseries estuary habitat, the link between bass nurseries and the adult stock, citizen science app development, best practice angling and fish handling techniques fish welfare.

Dr Ian McCarthy (University of Bangor)

Dr Ian McCarthy

Dr Ian McCarthy is a Reader in Fish Biology in the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University. During a 30-year academic career, his research has included work on a range of freshwater and marine fishes (e.g. salmonids, cyprinids, cichlids, smelt, sciaenids, flatfish, triglids, mugilids, sea bass, wolffish, skates, sharks), plus the occasional study on invertebrates, within the broad fields of physiology, behaviour and ecology. He has worked on sea bass in Wales for 20 years with a particular interest in population biology, movement patterns and connectivity of seabass in the Irish and northern Celtic Seas.

Dr Anna Sturrock (University of Essex)

Dr Anna Sturrock

Dr Anna Sturrock is a Senior Lecturer and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Essex. She primarily uses natural tags in archival structures such as otoliths and eye lenses to understand fish movements and health, generating empirical data to inform sustainable ecosystem management in a changing climate. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh, her Masters at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and her PhD at the University of Southampton and the Centre for the Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. From 2012 to 2020 she was a researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz, Berkeley, then Davis focused on salmon and water management. Since moving back to the UK in 2020 she has been working her way back up the salinity gradient in projects focused on sea bass, flatfish, tuna, eels, cod and anchovies, particularly using chemical tracers to reconstruct nursery ground contribution rates to the adult stock. She is co-leader of a COST Action Working Group focused on marine connectivity and can be found on the twittersphere as @otolithgirl

Rachel Turnbull (University of Plymouth)

Rachel Turnball

Rachel Turnbull is a PhD student in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth. Her research focuses on the abundance, growth, and condition of juvenile bass in estuaries in the southwest of England, combining more traditional fisheries science techniques like seine surveys and otolith microstructural analysis with more cutting edge biochemical indices. Rachel is also a member of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Working Group in the Value of Coastal Habitats for Exploited Species.

Joe Dawson (University of Essex)

Joe Dawson

Joe Dawson is a researcher at the University of Essex. He is principally interested in the use of natural tags and biochronologies (growth rings) to track fish movement, growth and phenology, and how this data can inform species management. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter before completing a research masters at Bangor University examining the spawning and recruitment timing of juvenile seabass into North Welsh nurseries. He is now expanding this work to cover UK and EU juvenile seabass populations to examine the effectiveness of current protection measures. He can be found throughout the warmer months with rod and reel in hand on various stretches of UK coastline.

Steve Colclough (Institute of Fisheries Management)

Steve Colclough

Steve Colclough led a national Environment Agency team in the 00’s that developed a multi-method fish survey programme for Water Framework Directive in transitional waters, later recognised as European Best Practice. Over that period Steve began to sample fish communities associated with salt marshes and managed realignments, recognising that few had studied these associations in Europe. After leaving the Environment Agency in 2011, Steve set up a small consultancy and is Chair of the Estuarine & Marine Section of the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM). The principle aim of the IFM is to promote more sustainable fisheries management in fresh/tidal waters, through advocacy, training and technical support measures. Since 1985, Steve has been involved in fish sampling in 50 plus estuaries, 30 plus areas of saltmarsh and 40 plus managed realignment and saltmarsh terrace treatments. Today, Steve focuses on training groups of citizen science volunteers to conduct fish surveys in saltmarshes and managed realignments to advise on new treatment design features which will optimise fish utilisation. Throughout this work, juvenile bass have featured significantly. Steve will be providing some observations from his experiences at the symposium. 

Dr Filipe Martinho (University of Coimbra)

Dr Filipe Martinho

Dr Filipe Martinho is a researcher at the Centre for Functional Ecology and Department of Life Sciences at University of Coimbra, Portugal. His work focuses on the effects of climate change and anthropogenic pressures on marine and estuarine organisms (fish, plankton), on the use of estuaries as nurseries by early life stages of marine fishes, and on the use of otoliths to study fish migrations, habitat use, growth, and population structure. Filipe is a member of the ICES Working Group on the Value of Coastal Habitats for Exploited Species and co-leads the longest running monitoring program of estuarine fishes in Portugal, which started in 2003 in the Mondego estuary, where seabass is one of the most abundant species.

Dr Howard Freeman (University of Essex)

Dr Howard Freeman

Dr Howard Freeman is a postdoctoral researcher. He is a coastal ecologist whose research focuses on how individual animals interact with all aspects of their environment and how this influences physiological processes, behaviour, and population level responses. He completed his BSc and MRes at the University of Plymouth and Marine Biological Association where he investigated diel vertical migration patterns in plaice. He completed his PhD at the University of Essex on the drivers of recruitment variation in sea bass, focussing on understanding habitat associations, larval settlement mechanisms, and overwinter survivability. He is currently involved with a FISP funded project to develop a sea bass tissue bank to better understand patterns in the connectivity of sea bass nurseries around the UK.

Scott Belbin (Charter Skipper)

Scott Belbin

Scott Belbin is a skipper of the Galloper, a charter boat based in Brightlingsea, Essex. Scott has been a licenced charter skipper for 18 years and grew up fishing on his father's charter boat – his father Stuart has been a licenced charter skipper for over 50 years, both have dabbled in commercial fishing too.  Scott is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience as well as his hopes for the future as an angler, skipper and father.


The conference will be based in the STEM Building on the lovely University of Essex campus in Wivenhoe Park near Colchester. The campus has accommodation, restaurants and bars within walking distance of the conference venue theatre, and it is also only an hour from London by train, so is easily accessible nationally and internationally.

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Project partners

Angling Trust, Cefas and Bass logos side by side

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