Open Seas is a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, governed by a board of experienced and committed Trustees and run by a team that shares a passion for sustainable fish for the benefit of environment and people.
Phil Taylor has been working in wildlife conservation since his teens. He’s set up projects like the Shiant Isles Recovery Project, has supplied evidence to the world’s tuna commissions and has been involved in marine policy at a Scottish, UK and International level for 12 years.
Likes: MSC Cod Butties, Sans serif fonts, #envirowaffles
Dislikes: Greenwash, Pigeonholes, leftover fish pie.
Nick Underdown has 12 years experience in advocacy and campaigning for sustainable management of marine resources in Scotland. He is a former local reporter with a strong interest in social and environmental issues and corporate responsibility.
Likes: localism, stone-skimming
Dislikes: litter, bullying, website bios
Niamh Taylor is a former journalist with a background in political campaigning and communications. She is passionate about creating productive links between local communities, marine conservation groups and the government to protect Scotland’s seas and wildlife.
Likes: Historical fiction, sandy toes and breakfast for dinner
Dislikes: Fancy dress parties, losing board games and cold toast
Chris Rickard is a former primary teacher, experienced SCUBA diver and underwater cameraman, who specialises in marine life ID around Scotland. He has a track record in citizen science and conservation volunteering. As a father of two young boys, he supports robust protection for our inshore waters, to safeguard their future.
Likes: Scottish diving, Irn-Bru, audio-books on long car journeys.
Dislikes: Thuggery, sprouts, remote bureaucracy disconnected from the real world.
Grant Reekie is a former chef with a background in conservation biology and a passion for sustainable seafood. During the pandemic, Grant studied MSc Gastronomy at Queen Margaret University, where he engaged with issues relating to the use and condition of Scotland’s seabed, and the potential for greater environmental and economic resilience within coastal communities.
Likes: oysters, guitar, listening to podcasts while cooking
Dislikes: food trends, love island, marmite
Hugh Raven (Chair) has 25 years’ senior level experience in the sustainable development movement. He was formerly a Sustainable Development Commissioner for Scotland, reporting to the UK Prime Minister and leaders of the devolved administrations; and advisor to the UK foreign secretary on international environmental policy. A current or past advisor to NGOs and charitable foundations large and small, he has non-executive directorships in the private, public and third sectors. He chairs the Environmental Funders’ Network.
After a career in finance in Japan and London, Caroline Bennett founded Moshi Moshi in 1994 and started the kaiten-sushi revolution, simply because she loved sushi and was convinced other Londoners would as well. Since then, the restaurant has stuck to time-honoured Japanese tradition, serving authentic Japanese food made by their chefs with many years of experience. Caroline is at the forefront of campaigns to protect fish stocks, and has won a number of awards, including the prestigious Green Apple Award for the Environment, the RSPCA Award for Animal Welfare, and she was lauded as a 2009 international Seafood Champion by SeaWeb’s Seafood Choices. Moshi Moshi was one of the first five restaurants in the UK to achieve Marine Stewardship Council accreditation. Caroline was the author of Sushi 500 published in 2013. She was a Board member of Slow Food and remains involved through Slow Fish, and has founded Sole of Discretion CIC , a fishmonger that safeguards the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and their marine friendly fishing methods.
Tom Ballantine has strong experience of networked environmental campaigning and good practice in third sector governance. He has been on the board of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (a coalition of Scottish organisations campaigning together on climate change) since 2007. He has been chair of their board since June 2010. Before taking on his current role Tom worked as a lawyer and mediator in Edinburgh where he headed a multiple award winning family law team and co-authored two books on family law. He left his legal work in 2010 to concentrate on campaigning on climate change. Tom’s interest in the environment has been maintained throughout his adult life. He is also on the board of the Scottish Climate Challenge Fund Grants Panel.
Jean Ainsley is an experienced chartered account with a passion for the outdoors and a long history in campaigning for marine wildlife. She set up her own accountancy firm in 2005 and also assists her husband David in running a wildlife watching business. Over the years she has been involved in campaigns to protect wildlife and wild places, including the end of tangle netting and scallop dredging in the Firth of Lorn SAC, as well as efforts to combat inappropriate fish farm planning applications and industry practices such as the use of acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs). With a general practice firm in Oban, she advises over 50 charitable clients and has extensive experience of sitting on charity boards and having oversight of their finances.
Although training as a zoologist, David Kipling has spent most of his career in a laboratory as a biomedical research scientist. He is an Honorary Professor at both Cardiff and Surrey University, a Member of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society. In his spare time he is an active recreational diver and underwater photographer, with a passion for the waters around Scotland, be it the muddy habitats of sheltered sea lochs or more challenging offshore rocky areas such as Fair Isle and St Kilda. He served for many years as a Trustee of the Marine Conservation Society, and is an active contributor to their Seasearch diver-based marine recording scheme. Most recently, he co-authored “Sea Squirts and Sponges of Britain and Ireland”, one of several Seasearch identification guides.