Dr Steve Eayrs

Stephen is an ex-commercial fisher and fishing technologist with almost 40 years involvement in the fishing industry. His fishing career commenced in the early 1980s, fishing for prawns in northern Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Burma, and for orange roughy in Tasmania. Between periods on the water he completed an undergraduate degree in fishing technology at the Australian Maritime College. Later, he returned to the Australian Maritime College to lecture in fishing technology and shipboard safety, and for a period managed the flume tank. Whilst there he also completed a number of brief, international assignments for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and others, collaborating with researchers and fishers in other countries to develop selective fishing gears, as well as a Masters degree in fisheries, studying the vertical distribution and behaviour of fish and shrimp in response to prawn trawls.

In 2007 he moved to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine, USA to establish a small fishing technology laboratory and collaborate with fishers and others in the development of more selective and efficient fishing gears. During this time he completed his doctoral thesis at the University of New Hampshire, investigating fisher decision-making and approaches to help facilitate change in the fishing industry. He also continued collaborating with the FAO, involved primarily in bycatch reduction projects in South America.

In 2018 he returned to Australia and established Smart Fishing Consulting. He currently leads the SeSAFE project (www.sesafe.com.au), a national initiative to raise awareness and provide safety training to the commercial fishing industry, and is an associate with Terra Moana.