Head of fishery science ups her game

The S&TA is delighted to announce that Dr Janina Gray, the Association’s well-regarded Head of Science and Environment Policy has successfully defended her PhD.

Janina Gray’s PhD thesis aimed to address the need to incorporate seasonal and inter-annual flow variability in managing rivers for migratory salmonids.

With Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in decline throughout most of its range, Dr Gray argued that it is essential that natural flow variability is understood and incorporated in river management proposals. This is especially relevant in light of the many uncertainties facing salmon at the various stages of their life-cycle as well as pressures on water resources set to increase.

Paul Knight, Chief Executive of the S&TA comments on this achievement, “Janina has achieved her PhD while working full-time for us. This is quite a remarkable achievement, particularly at a time when our role is rapidly evolving to counter the many threats that face our rivers, fish stocks and aquatic environments. Ensuring that our policy work is underpinned by sound science is crucial and Janina’s role will continue to be a massive factor in our success.”

Janina joined the S&TA eight years ago and during this time she has been pro-active in leading many of the scientifically-backed campaigns initiated by the Association, as well as advising on the wide range of new technologies such as fracking, wind farms and tidal energy proposals, which could also increase pressure on our already stretched river systems. Janina also chairs the well-established Blueprint for Water coalition, whose current focus is on abstraction reform and the 2nd cycle River Basin Management Plans. This work has highlighted the importance of collecting credible scientific data in order to influence official management policy.

Janina commented on defending her PhD, “We live in worrying times, particularly as there are many challenges and threats facing our famous chalk streams and rivers. As Head of Science and Environment Policy I am keen to continue bridging the gap between science and policy to ensure that all environmental policy and key decisions are based on the best available science. Hard scientific facts are difficult to dispute and it is these that we will be using to influence national decisions on the management and protection of salmon, trout and all other fish species as well as aquatic environments.”