The Authority

Like all IFCA’s, the Sussex IFCA has a governing committee made up of representatives from the constituent local authorities, stakeholders appointed by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and standing representatives from partner organisations the MMO, Natural England and Environment Agency. The appointed members of the Authority are acquainted with the needs and opinions of the fishing community of the district and have knowledge of, or expertise in, marine environmental matters.

The Committee meets every quarter with the Authority appointing members to the standing sub-committees. The technical sub-committee discuss technical measures, evidence and proposed management to make recommendations to the Authority.

The agendas and minutes of the full committee meetings are available.

The next full committee meeting will be on 25th July 2024 . Location Sussex Yacht Club, Shoreham-by-sea.

Authority Members

Chair: Professor Peter Jones

I have been engaged in research that combines social and natural sciences for over 30 years, focusing on coastal seas as complex social-ecological systems. This research has always been applied and focused on the day-today realities of how we collectively manage human activities to ensure they are sustainable.

My role on the Sussex IFCA committee is a very welcome opportunity to bring the insights gained through my international research to the management of our regional inshore fisheries off Sussex, as well as to learn from this.

I look forward to helping implement SxIFCA’s focus on the ecosystem approach through a range of collaborative initiatives, including various byelaws, to provide for profitable and sustainable inshore fisheries, alongside promoting the health of our marine ecosystems through MPAs and wider-scale conservation initiatives. I very much welcome the opportunity to collaborate with fishers and other partners to these ends.

Deputy Chair Cllr. Noel Atkins

West Sussex County Council

After leaving the Royal Navy Noel became Consultant to the European Commission in Brussels managing the project between EU and Israel. Upon returning from Israel and Denmark in 1998 joined Bond International Software, promoted to sales director in 2000, retiring in 2009 when elected to Mayor of Worthing. As Mayor became Queen’s representative of Royal Borough of Worthing 2009/10 and invited to Buckingham Palace on completion of duties.

Became Chairman of Trussell Trust National UK Foodbanks, initiated Worthing Foodbank and encouraged the vision of social franchising so every major town in UK should have a foodbank. Noel then worked for Heene Community Association from 2012 as a Business Development Manager, securing Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service ‘MBE for Volunteer Groups’ and retiring in 2022 after 10 years’ service.

Noel is currently the Borough Councillor for Salvington Ward in Worthing having first been elected in 2004, and County Councillor for Durrington and Salvington Division. Noel is Chairman of Planning at Worthing Borough Council and Vice Chairman of Planning and Rights of Way Committee at West Sussex County Council.

When not at Council, Noel works for CAP (Christians Against Poverty) in partnership with New Life Church, Durrington, as Debt Centre Manager, responsible for taking residents through the process of insolvency to becoming debt free. Gained City & Guilds Diploma in Debt Counselling.

Noel continues his association with the Royal Navy as chairman of the Worthing Royal Naval Association looking after the welfare of local veterans and widows.

Noel is pleased to serve as a trustee of Building Heroes Education Foundation and as Director of Building Heroes Property Services.

County Councillors

Cllr. Sam Adeniji

East Sussex County Council

Cllr. Julia Hilton

East Sussex County Council

Cllr. Tom Liddiard

East Sussex County Council

Cllr. Theresa Fowler

Brighton and Hove City Council

Cllr. Emma Evans

West Sussex County Council

Awaiting reappointment

West Sussex County Council

Members appointed by statutory authorities

Mark Bennett

Environment Agency

I'm the Environment Agency's Fisheries Technical Specialist and their representative on the Sussex IFCA. I've worked for the Agency in Sussex for 10 years and see our key aims as: To enhance the rivers, wetlands and coast of Sussex and the South East. Focus on delivering our flood risk priorities and the Water Framework Directive local measures to create sustainable ecologically functioning habitat.

To carry out this work within our Sussex communities. To protect key river, wetland and coastal habitats by giving intelligent advice to Flood and Coastal Risk Management, Environmental Planning, other key partners and Community organisations. To work with partners to achieve self-sustaining fish populations, responsible angling and sustainable commercial fishing. To encourage rod licence sales and carry out targeted, intelligent enforcement.

Becca Turley

Natural England

As a Natural England Senior Marine Advisor, I bring statutory and conservation advice on marine protected areas and the effects of human activity on the environment. I work with partners in Sussex and Kent to protect and enhance habitat and species in marine protected areas.

I am keen to identify opportunities for sustainability and collaborations to benefit the marine environment. I have an academic background in marine environmental and social sciences and a professional background in environmental monitoring and reporting.

Paul Johnson

Marine Management

I am the District Marine Officer for the MMO Southeast District, which spans from Gravesend to Lyme Regis and incorporates three IFCA’s. As such I am responsible for the duties MMO carries out at sea and on the coast within the District. I have worked in the Southeast for some 17 years, from initially staring as a Fishery Officer with MAFF.

MMO Appointees

Sally Ashby

Bringing knowledge & expertise in: Marine Ecosystems & Documentary Film Production

Born in Chichester and living near Brighton, I have always considered Sussex home and have always had a strong connection with the sea. My childhood summers were spent shrimping and cockling on the North Norfolk Coast. I have an academic background in zoology and ecology with an MSc in Conservation, specialising in coastal ecosystem services. I also have a professional background in media as a documentary film-maker for UK television. I am the Technical Specialist, Climate & Conservation Finance for Fauna & Flora. 

Dr Corina Ciocan

Bringing knowledge & expertise in: Marine Biology & International Research

Dr. Corina Ciocan is a Principal Lecturer in Marine Biology at University of Brighton. A Marine Biologist, Corina’s expertise is in Ecotoxicology, focusing on biological responses of marine organisms to environmental stressors. Prior to working at the University of Brighton, UK, Corina was a full-time Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, UK after starting as a Research Assistant for the Romanian National Marine Institute. She has been involved in a wide range of international research programmes (British council, International Mussel Watch, EU Interreg Channel). Recently, Corina has developed a strong interest in the marine microplastics pollution and the potential input from boating associated activities. Corina has published her research in high impact scientific journals, written book chapters, evaluated research proposals for major UK and international councils and has recently appeared TV and radio programs centred around her research into fibreglass contamination.

Dr Paul Driver

Bringing knowledge & expertise in: Fisheries Research & International Environmental Conservation

I am a marine fisheries biologist, who initially worked at the largest of the old Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs): the ‘Lancs & Western’ responsible for NW England and N/Mid Wales. I conducted field research on the lobster fishery, as a result of which we were the first SFC to introduce a lobster minimum landing size (MLS) greater than the national MLS. My research on the brown shrimp fishery enabled us to make predictions of landings one year in advance, on the basis of meteorological data. I ended up as the Chief Officer of that SFC.

I then pursued a second career in international environmental consultancy, and worked on the conservation of marine habitats in numerous tropical countries. I also spent three years as the Director of Conservation Services at the HQ of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Switzerland.

I am particularly interested in the excellent research work of the Sussex IFCA and, where possible, contribute with respect to fisheries and marine conservation.

PhD subject: 'The Crawfish, Palinurus elephas ; Its Biology and Fishery in British Waters'. 

Gary Edwards

Bringing Knowledge and Expertise in: Commercial Fishing

Graham Furness

Bringing knowledge & expertise in: Recreational Sea Angling (Hastings)

I started sea angling in 1960 when I joined the East Hastings Sea Angling Association. Every fine weekend I would travel with my dad from Finchley to Hastings, to see if we could get afloat. Now, some 50 years later, my enthusiasm for the sport is undiminished. I’m still with the EHSAA where I’m currently the Commodore having also acted as vice-chairman and chairman (17 years). Since 1972 I have been the club’s fish recorder and have always been interested in the changing trends of species / numbers / sizes landed. I have joined friends in the local inshore fishing fleet when trawling, trammel and gill netting, and some potting in Scotland.

In more recent times I have become interested in coaching the next generation of anglers and have completed my UKCC Level 1 certificate in coaching angling. Over the last 50 years I have become acutely aware of the decline in fish numbers and species available for anglers and worry as to whether there will be fish for the new generation I’m trying to encourage to catch. This is my main driver behind applying to join the IFCA as I believe the new legislation provides an unparalleled opportunity to ensure sustainable fish stocks for both anglers and commercial interests alike.

Professor Paul Leonard
BSc. (Hons), FIMarEST, FMBA, FLS

Bringing knowledge & expertise in: Coastal Zone Management

I am a former head of the DEFRA Marine Environment Division’s Science Unit and have also been a Council member of the UK Environmental Law Association as well as a council member for the Society of Radiological Protection . My main work is providing a peer review service that is science-based for a wide range of users including industry, local communities and government funded organisations. This might include resolving conflicts of interest, designing appropriate monitoring programmes and assessment of the significance of the information. Besides being a Marine Management Organisation appointee, I am also an independent member of the Thames Regional Flood & Coastal Committee Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) - GOV.UK (

As a member of the Sussex IFCA, I hope to help provide advice on such issues as coastal zone management, best practice for the utilisation of marine aggregates, sustainable approaches to enhancing biodiversity and minimisation of pollution

Garry Walker

I became a member of the Sussex IFCA to help make a difference.  It is very important the commercial fishermen are represented at this committee, hopefully I can increase awareness and advise on sensitive issues. I understand the importance of maintaining a sustainable fishery and protecting the future of the fishing industry for the next generation.

I went to sea at an early age and worked on both local near shore trawlers and eventually the more distant deep sea trawlers (demersal and pelagic). The deep sea vessels typically spent 2 or 3 weeks at sea before returning home. However, I do have broken service with-in the commercial fishing industry. This was due to the rapid decline of the UK deep sea fishing fleet and its markets. At that time I had a young family to support and needed a reliable source of income.

I was fortunate to join the nuclear power industry now known as EDF Energy. 
After several years' I was offered a professional engineering programme of further education typically 4 year's day release plus night school at a Technical College. I passed the BTEC ONC and BTEC HNC exams with distinction to become a professional Incorporated Engineer (IEng) plus membership of the Engineering Council. Throughout my time with EDF Energy I maintained my passion for the sea and kept in touch with the local fishing community doing regular trips at sea with them. Eventually I decided the time was right to take early retirement from EDF Energy and make return to the fishing industry, I now own and operate my own commercial fishing vessel.

Julian Seaman

My professional journey began in the inshore fishing industry, where I gained valuable experience working on netting, potting, and stern trawlers. As my passion for the sea grew, I transitioned to the offshore sector, honing my skills on beam trawlers and steadily advancing in my career. Through dedication and continuous learning, I eventually achieved the esteemed position of Captain.

In 1999, I decided to explore new opportunities and made the move ashore, joining the Marine Team at Shoreham Port. Over the years, I made significant contributions to the port's operations, and my expertise was recognized when I was appointed as the Harbour Master/Director of Marine Operations in 2009. This role allowed me to combine my extensive maritime experience with managerial responsibilities, overseeing and leading various marine operations to ensure the port's efficiency, success, and the safety of all our stakeholders on the water.

In 2023, I take immense pride in the Port's achievement of maintaining the prestigious EcoPort status, marking a decade of continuous EcoPort certification. As a key initiative overseeing environmental standards within the European Port sector, EcoPorts plays a vital role in promoting sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Kim Matthews 

Shoreham-born, I have owned boats for most of my adult life. They have ranged from a Sussex Lower-built punt when fishing full-time to a 5m beach boat for fishing part-time presently. With my wife Elizabeth, we have also sailed our liveaboard yacht and cruised the Mediterranean most summers.

I trained as a teacher and hold a Geography degree from the University of Sussex, plus a post-graduate degree in Adult and Community Education. After researching my ancestors, who were Essex oyster dredgers, I wrote a book (during Covid lockdown) about the 19th century Shoreham Oyster Fishery.

As a Committee Member of Sussex IFCA, I believe I am best-placed to bridge the gap between science-based fishery and conservation practitioners and the fishers of the Sussex inshore fleet who have a wealth of knowledge based on years of experience at sea. Together, we can maintain a sustainable fishery and conserve our marine eco-system for future generations.

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