John Duncan '08 (South Africa)

November 2, 2008

Prior to joininng MESPOM I had been studying and working in the biodiversity conservation field in South Africa. This was always where I wanted to end up again after finishing MESPOM. During MESPOM studies I tried to focus on topics that I felt would come in useful in this field. I was also lucky enough to focus my MESPOM thesis on the environmental policy relating to the traditional linefishery here in South Africa, which gave me valuable insights into how the small-scale fishing industry in my home country operates. I am glad to say that as a result of my disseration work I have recently been appointed as a capacity development and outreach officer for the Worldwide Fund for Nature's (WWF) sustainable fisheries program.

The majority of my work for this program revolves around trying to develop a better understanding of the Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries amongst all of the stakeholders in the South African seafood industry.The main thrust of my work is the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative which is a type of eco-labelling initiative which aims to give consumers more information about the different sustainability issues involved with the popular seafood species eaten in South Africa.

 The work is exciting and there is great potential to make a difference to what is happening in South Africa's fisheries right now.  I am grateful for the experience and the skills that MESPOM gave me, all of which contributed to my understanding of how complex the world of environmental policy and management really are.