1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Michael O’Malley and I work for the Marine Institute in Galway. My work is split between surveys and assessments of pelagic fish stocks, including herring, blue whiting, horse mackerel, mackerel, boar-fish and sprat. This means I get to spend time on the national research vessels, the Celtic Explorer and Celtic Voyager, but I also do surveys on commercial fishing boats. Part of my time is spent in the office working up results from surveys and conducting stock assessments using statistical models.
2. Why did you become a Fisheries Scientist? What drew you to this field?
My role has a good mix of practical, technical and numerical tasks. Being able to see what’s going on under the surface of the water using echo-sounders and sonar technology is always exciting to me. Every survey is different and the stocks are very dynamic from year to year. I also like the feeling that I contribute to successfully managing some of Ireland’s vast marine resources.
3.What are you currently working on?
I conduct acoustic surveys of fish stocks, the technique uses data collected from echo-sounders to calculate fish stock biomass.
4. Would you have any words of encouragement for Leaving Cert students that would also like to pursue this career?
I had many different jobs and worked in Ireland, the UK and US before getting this position in Galway. Experience and lessons from every job I ever had, however unrelated to my current job, has benefited me in this role; stick with it, and you’ll get there. Be prepared to travel for opportunities to get experience, especially early in your career.