Meet the Scientist - Dr Carrie McMinn


This month Dr Carrie McMinn - Fisheries & Aquatic Ecosystems Branch talks about her role in AFBI

I graduated with a Biological Sciences degree from Queen’s University Belfast before moving straight into a fisheries targeted PhD which was based in the Queen’s University Marine Laboratory in Portaferry.  Following my PhD I joined AFBI VSD in 2007 before moving over to the Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystem Branch in 2011 as the Inshore Fisheries project leader.

Dr Carrie McMinn (pictured Left) with Mr Peter Boston (Fisherman) and Ruth Sanderson (BBC NI) during the recent filming for BBC NI Homeground
Dr Carrie McMinn (pictured Left) with Mr Peter Boston (Fisherman) and Ruth Sanderson (BBC NI) during the recent filming for BBC NI Homeground
My work focuses on collecting fishing information and biological data on the main inshore species which are crab, lobster, king scallops and queen scallops.  I have also carried out more diverse projects including the development of an online recreational sea angling survey to collect information on sea angling in Northern Ireland and one of my current projects is examining potential management measures for intertidal harvesting of periwinkles.

Stakeholders play an important role in my work and I have a close and successful working relationship with the inshore fishing sector.  This is essential for my day-to-day work in gathering inshore fisheries information but has also led to a success in projects and contracts where I have acted as a Fisheries Liaison Officer (FLO) which have required a partnership between fisheries and science.

My work has a good balance between the office and field work which mainly involves being on small fishing vessels targeting crab and lobster, the AFBI Research Vessel Corystes to gather information on scallops, as well as carrying out surveys along the shore.

The best part of my job is getting out and speaking to the fishermen, usually during a crab or lobster sampling trip.  For many, fishing is their life and it is interesting to hear their perspective on how things have changed over the years, the current state of the fishery and why they believe this has happened.

Interesting facts about Dr Carrie McMinn:

If you weren’t in your current position what job/career would you like to be doing?
I am quite an organised person and love planning things.  I also like to work with people.  If I wasn’t in my job I would like to use these skills to become an event planner.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and what is its name?
I have a dog and 3 cats.  My dog is called Axl, after my favourite singer Axl Rose.  He is a Jack Russell.  We got him on New Year’s Eve 2016 from the dog shelter when he was about a year old.  We wanted at least one shelter dog to have a good New Year.  He is now completely spoilt rotten.

What 3 things would you put on your bucket list?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda, renew my wedding vows somewhere tropical and help build a school in Kenya.

What is the most exciting thing you have ever done?
I have been on safari in Kenya twice.  I absolutely love the people, the culture and the animals.  Being completely surrounded by more than a hundred elephants in Amboseli National Park has to be the most exciting and emotional experience.

What is your favourite food/dinner?
I am quite a plain eater.  Can’t beat a burger and chips from a good chippie.