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Selina Stead

Newcastle Professor named Chief Scientific Adviser on marine policy

Published on: 4 July 2017

Newcastle University’s Professor of Marine Governance has been named the Government’s new Chief Scientific Adviser for the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

Advising the MMO - an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs - Professor Selina Stead will play a key role in the development of marine policy post-Brexit.

Professor Stead is Newcastle University’s second government adviser appointment, joining Professor Phil Blythe who is Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport.

Professor Selina Stead, newly-appointed Chief Scientific Adviser for the MMO

Marine challenges post-Brexit

She said: “I am honoured to be the new Chief Scientific Adviser for the MMO and I plan to use my experience as a marine scientist working in both the UK and overseas to help the MMO support sustainable marine resource development.

“Brexit closes a brief but important chapter in marine environmental management. Timing in taking up this role will mean dealing with unprecedented constitutional challenges for the UK, which will affect many areas of marine policymaking, such as fisheries.

“I have my dream job as a marine biologist and a passionate belief that seas and oceans should be accessible to all.

“The UK is home to many world class marine experts keen to make sure that our policies are based on high-quality marine science to ensure the future health of our seas and I look forward to drawing on this vast expertise in my new role.”

Wealth of experience

Bringing with her a wealth of skills and experience having worked on developing innovative marine policy programmes, Professor Stead’s work at Newcastle University combines natural and social science methods.

She also leads international teams to tackle complex problems such as poverty in coastal areas and marine food insecurity.

Her current and recent research spans marine science and governance of coral reef ecosystems; fisheries management and piracy in East Africa, Oman, Somalia and the UK; sea cucumber biology in South Africa; seaweed aquaculture in Malaysia; community based management in Nigeria, and; marine governance of Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South Pacific, and the western Indian Ocean.

The post is part-time and Prof Stead will continue working independently in her outside career to encourage sharing of the latest thinking and learning in marine science, subject to the usual conflict of interest criteria.

John Tuckett, Chief Executive of the MMO, said:

“I’m pleased to welcome Professor Stead to the MMO. Her wealth of knowledge and experience will be of great benefit to our ambitions for the future of marine management in UK waters and beyond.

“This appointment also represents our commitment to further strengthening our links with the marine science and academic community.”

Professor Stead adds:

“My career aims are to improve how and why decisions are made for sustainable marine resource management. I look forward to progressing these with the MMO.”

Professor Stead succeeds Stuart Rogers, Chief Scientist and Executive Director of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).


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