Sarah Morcom

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Government
Job title: Fisheries Research Officer
Subject of study: Zoology / Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation
Year of graduation: 2019
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Taught, Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Isles of Scilly Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

When I first graduated uni I spent 6 months working in hospitality, whilst applying for a range of different marine jobs. My first ‘career’ job role was a 6 month position with Isles of Scilly IFCA as a boating and research assistant. After this I worked a 6 month contract for Cornwall Wildlife Trust as fisheries liaison before returning to Isles of Scilly on another 6 month contract to complete the fisheries research I had started the previous year.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I  chose to work in fisheries because I like a challenge. I don’t believe there is ever a straightforward or obvious answer when it comes to fisheries research and management and I love getting stuck in to figuring out solutions that work for multiple different stakeholders. The thing I enjoy most about my work is the people I get to work with. I’m lucky enough to work with wonderful fishers who make even the rough, grey days at sea seen easy.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was a part of Wild Doc Soc whilst at uni and really enjoyed everything I learnt with them and the events I helped organise. I also learnt to dive with the Dive Society whilst at Uni which is a real highlight for me.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I enjoyed the strong practical elements of the course. I felt even with Covid I got a lot of chances to expand my field skills. The highlight for me was definitely the weeks of boat trips we got to improve our ID skills at sea and a visit to Lundy island to see the seabirds. Having the opportunity to work with IoSIFCA and Natural England for my masters project was brilliant as well.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The best thing about studying at the Penryn Campus of the University of Exeter is the staff. The lecturers all go above and beyond to support you. They really are exceptional.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose to study at Exeter’s Penryn campus so I could be close to the sea and swim and surf before lectures. I didn’t think I would get onto my undergraduate course as I hadn’t been predicted the grades necessary but Professor Stuart Bearhop told me on the open day that things are always worth trying, very wise words.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

I think a lot of my roles have needed a real combination of skills, from fieldwork to GIS and statistics. Having an all round understanding of these has been really important.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Make sure you read around the topic lots, things are always changing in fisheries so it’s useful to be up to date. Try and get as much experience as possible, and always be nice to people you meet

What are your plans for the future?

The future is a hard one with so many short term contracts in research. I plan to continue working in fisheries and would love to still be researching the European spiny lobster in a few years

 

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