Diving led to marine science
ALISTAIR McIlgorm was inspired as a youngster by the celebrated feats of Jacques Cousteau to enter the watery world of marine science.
He admits his ideal job would have been to dive each day 'hoping that someone would pay for it'.
But he would soon discover the big challenge rested in managing fish stocks and stopping over-fishing.
Professor McIlgorm this week started his new position as director of Coffs Harbour's National Marine Science Centre, where he will preside over the next phase of research and development.
He takes over from the centre's founding director, Professor Rod Simpson.
"I see the centre continu- ing to undertake important research in marine science and further developing its contribution to the sustainable management and conservation of marine resources in the local, Australian and international arenas," Prof. McIlgorm said.
He also wants to focus on adult education at the centre and harness enthusiasm for this initiative.
He said he hoped to convince politicians of the value of the ocean and the value of the industries on it.
Prof. McIlgorm is also undertaking research which has identified recreational fishing tourism as a big contributor to local economies.
For the past nine years, Prof. McIlgorm has run a private consultancy and worked on more than 50 fisheries and marine management projects for a range of State, Commonwealth and international agencies.
While running the consultancy, he lectured part-time at the Centre for Marine Science at the University of NSW.
He's also been an honorary senior research fellow at the University of Wollongong, involved in research for APEC's Marine Conservation Working Group.
Prof. McIlgorm is originally from Northern Ireland and has been in Australia for 17 years.
The marine science centre is a joint venture between SCU and UNE.