Sidney Holt – obituary

Sidney Holt was a fisheries scientist who transformed the way the science of fisheries assessment was undertaken. He was also worked tirelessly on whale conservation and lead the way on the pioneering measures to protect the great whales.

Guardian ‘Sidney Holt, who has died aged 93, aimed to live long enough to save the great whale species from extinction – something he had been fighting for since being appointed to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1961 to give scientific advice on annual catch limits for each hunted species. He managed to curtail the slaughter but did not succeed in halting it until 26 December 2018, when the Japanese left the International Whaling Commission and announced they would no longer kill whales in Antarctica, at last guaranteeing the great whale species a sanctuary where their seriously depleted numbers might continue to recover.’ Click here to read more.

Professor David Nichols

To Matt Frost (MBA) – from Paul Gilliland (MMO)

‘In case you had not been made aware of the news, I’m letting you know the news I received yesterday that Professor David Nichols passed away on New Year’s day. He was 89. The funeral is on Thursday 16th at the crematorium in Exeter at 12.30.  He was my PhD supervisor at Exeter University I was his last student, during which time he was also deputy vice chancellor and also ‘second’ supervisor to Dan Laffoley for his PhD. More pertinently, David sat on the MBA Council (1970-73, 77-80 and 83-86 from a biography I have checked but you will wish to confirm) and was prominent in the field of marine conservation and biology beyond academia, for example as vice president of the Marine Conservation Society and sitting on council of the Nature Conservancy Council. Dan Laffoley was another of his PhD students. Whilst I did not receive lectures from him as an undergraduate, I know from many that did that he was an effective and well-liked lecturer and communicator.’ 

Bob Earll   ‘David Nichols was a high accomplished academic who made his scientific name with pioneering work on understanding echinoderm locomotion not least the anatomy and function of tube feet. I met him in 1978 when he was a vice president of the Underwater Conservation Year (1977) and eventually the Marine Conservation Society. He had organised a successful citizens science project during UCY and subsequently looking at the distribution of sea urchins (Echinus) and their depth distribution around the UK. I had just started co-ordinating the UCY projects and he invited me to lunch at Exeter. It was a meeting that still lives in my mind. He was gracious, incredibly knowledgeable, enthusiastic and unbelievably supportive. When you are starting out you need people like that. He supported all sorts of marine conservation initiatives through the 1980s and with Gill Bishop, another of his PhD students, did valuable work on sea urchin distribution around the UK and the understanding of UK urchins in the international curio trade.    Another sad day.’

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