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“Designing Systems And Tools Which Work With Natural Processes And Environments Is Critical To Maintaining A Healthy Marine Environment”

Larissa, our Project Manager, tells us about what it means to work in a multi-disciplinary team, the importance of marine conservation, and her love for fish puns.

Larissa with Pisces

Hi Larissa. Can you tell me about your role?

I’m the Project Manager here at SafetyNet Technologies. It’s a role that sits between the different disciplines and coordinates between them so that we can deliver our scientific trials and funded projects. These projects allow us to understand marine animal reactions to light, the usability of our devices for fishers around the globe and to do research and development of future technologies developed in the company. We also get to work with some wonderful collaborators from around the world to realise fishing sustainability.  I coordinate with our partners to meet our project deliverables. 

Can you tell me a bit about your background?

My background is multifaceted, I started working as a project manager on the London Underground and then went on to do a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a postgraduate degree in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College. Since 2012 I have had a portfolio career working on projects which combine design and engineering, whether as a project manager for a fashion technology company, or designing, building and managing the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace. During a year spent travelling to different islands around the world, I witnessed the impact that humans have on marine environments in terms of fishing, pollution and tourism. For me, meeting SDG14 (the sustainable development goal to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) is very important to me. I’ve been following SafetyNet Technology since their Indiegogo fundraising campaign and am so happy to now be one of the team.

Pisces by the sea

What do you do on a typical day?

My role is administrative, creative and reactive, it is also deadline-driven. I could be meeting with different team members to see how they’re progressing with project deliverables on one day and scoping out potential funds and grants to apply for the next. I might be filming new instructions for our devices, commissioning a piece of work, working with our HCD lead on results from a recent trip, or corresponding with our project partners.

What are you currently working on?

Our FTL-Fish project which came to a close at the end of 2019, and I am now putting together the final report and all the deliverables for it, working closely with our partners at FROM Nord. We’re also in the middle of two EU funded projects SMARTFISH and SELUX which are looking are scientifically testing two of our devices near Scotland and France respectively. Later this year we’ll start a project working with artisanal fishers in Peru, so I’m preparing for that. I am also writing applications for new collaborative projects. 

What is your favourite project and why?

I find everything we’re working on fascinating, and feel privileged that our way of working means that my input is welcome in many different ways. I always find it wonderful when we can talk with people who use our devices directly, be they fishers, scientists or engineers, learn from their insights and understand what it means to really use Pisces. Exploring the potential of where we can go with sustainable fishing is very important for me. 

I also really enjoy it when I can work with all members of the team, whether it’s ideating around attachment mechanisms or planning the proposal for a new project, or attacking the day’s cryptic crossword the wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm of the team is infectious, as well as the wry wit and fish puns.

Why is marine conservation so important?

240 million people rely on fishing as their main livelihood, whether in a primary or secondary industry, and fish are critical in meeting world hunger needs. However, 33 per cent of marine fish stocks are overfished beyond sustainable limits. In order to maintain livelihoods, meet hunger needs and maintain fish and animal numbers it is important that we can continue the practice in a sustainable way. Considerate and sustainable marine stewardship is so important in maintaining animal diversity, supporting ecosystems, both above and below water. Additional pressures on ecosystems, through climate change, pollution, migration and the introduction of invasive species means that some marine species are critically endangered, and do not have the opportunity to grow to an age and size where they can repopulate. Designing systems and tools which work with natural processes and environments is critical to maintaining a healthy marine environment. 

What role does SafetyNet play in the future of sustainable fishing?

By understanding and using the natural reactions and feedback of fish, marine and bird species we can help fishers to only catch the species they want at a size that will allow for the populations to be maintained. We also can go further by working with people from different backgrounds and sectors, to understand their needs when it comes to fishing sustainably and adapting our devices and solutions to meet their requirements and even results that they were not expecting. 

What is the best thing about your job?

The ‘fintastic’ people I get to work with and the variety of activities that I get to do day-to-day. I’m all the better for it. 

If you work in the fishing industry and are interested in finding out more about how our Pisces product can support your business, contact our customer success team: enquiries@sntech.co.uk

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