Licence Applications Manager, Mowi Ireland
After 19 years working offshore as a geologist, I wanted to diversify so I undertook an MSc in Oceanography at the University of Southampton in 2015/16, then joined Mowi on a freshwater salmon farm in Scotland in 2017 and gained experience in a hatchery during my first three months. I expressed an interest in working for the environment team and there was a vacancy, which I successfully interviewed for. I spent five years in the team before accepting a long-term transfer for my current role to Ireland, where the company raises organic salmon.
“I’ve seen a big shift in how data is collected and used to make business decisions and I think in the future it will be important to be technologically savvy.”
BOLD CAREER CHANGES
In my current job I’m responsible for maintaining existing and gaining new licences for Mowi Ireland sites for rearing organic salmon. Each licence application requires an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and many also require a Natura Impact Statement (NIS), so much of my time is spent working with contractors on the production of these reports and stewarding specialist studies such as marine modelling of nutrients, solids deposition and sea lice dispersion. Building effective relationships and consulting internally and externally with regulators, communities, and other stakeholders are key to the role.
Every day and week are different. Information requests arrive in my email or over the phone from internal and external sources which can change priorities, but typically the majority of the week involves providing information for contractors to input into licence application supporting documents, quality control of EIAR and NIS documents prior to regulatory submission of those with applications, communications with contractors and stakeholders, advising smaller partner organisations, stewarding specialist studies that support EIARs, and managing contractor purchase orders and invoices.
MOTIVATIONS AND REWARDS
I like working in an industry that is innovative, that is working hard to improve sustainability and that has kept remote communities alive. I feel like I am making a difference and IEMA training has facilitated that by teaching me how I can help the company contribute to UN Sustainability Development Goals, and by providing the knowledge that’s needed to carry out quality environmental impact assessments. It’s rewarding to be a part of ensuring the sustainability of the industry for future generations, and to see the company being recognised for its efforts.
To contribute to a company producing a high quality, healthy protein that has been ranked as the most sustainable protein in the world by the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index for the past four years is very rewarding.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The biggest challenges come from a lack of skilled consultancy resources, under resourced consultees including regulatory bodies, and competing for both these resources with bigger industries such as wind farming. Immediate challenges include climate change, food security, plastic pollution, regulatory issues, and disruptions in the supply chain.
Technology has improved efficiency; in my role it has drastically reduced the need for printed documentation for regulatory submissions and has reduced the need to travel for meetings. I’ve seen a big shift in how data is collected and used to make business decisions and I think in the future it will be important to be technologically savvy.
There is much more focus now on sustainability in every aspect of the industry, and there’s a drive to innovate to improve sustainability. Positions have been created that reflect that.
Mowi has developed a comprehensive sustainability strategy, the Leading the Blue Revolution Plan, which sets ambitious goals to advance sustainability and offer solutions to climate change, food security and plastic pollution challenges. Open and transparent communications to collaborate with stakeholders on regulatory challenges and emergency plans to manage disruption in the supply chain will ensure continued supply.
ADVICE TO SHARE
If you’re hoping for a career in sustainability, join professional organisations, go to industry events, talk to people who work in sustainability, keep your LinkedIn profile current, join LinkedIn groups, and look out for training and volunteering opportunities.