River Director – Chris Conroy BSc (Hons) MSc MIFM
Chris joined the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust as part-time Director in May 2014. He has over 20 years of experience working as an aquatic resource manager, specialising in fisheries science, management and enforcement.
Chris gained an Applied Biology degree at Liverpool John Moore’s University, during which he spent a year working in the Environment Agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory. He went on to secure a role within the Agency’s Thames Tideway team in London, before returning to university and completing a Master’s degree in Aquatic Resource Management at King’s College, London. Later he worked as the Fisheries Technical Specialist and Biodiversity Team Leader in Kent area of the Environment Agency.
Following a period as a Principal Environmental Consultant for Capita Symonds then Cascade Consulting, in 2009 he was appointed as Superintendent and Biologist for the River Naver Fisheries, Sutherland. Chris was appointed as the Director of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board in August 2013 and continues in this role in parallel to his work for the Trust.
Senior Fisheries Biologist – Dr Diego del Villar (PhD)
Diego joined the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust in August 2018. As the Senior Fisheries Biologist he is responsible for the development and delivery of a range of fisheries research, education and monitoring programmes.
In 2014, he obtained his PhD. at the Danish Technical University (National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Aqua) with the defence of his PhD. thesis on: The marine life of sea trout (Salmo trutta). After, Diego’s professional career involved work in academia as a post-doctoral research associated at UHI and in consultancy as Senior fisheries Scientist.
In his work, Diego applies state-of-the-art methods in the field of animal biotelemetry (acoustic, radio and PIT-tag telemetry) to study the spatial behaviour and migration of fish; variations in habitat use and life history strategy; evaluation of anthropogenic effects on fish migration; and fisheries management. His research involves the most advanced statistical modelling techniques to resolve the underlying scientific questions. His research is carried out in freshwater, brackish and marine environments and involves collaborations within the UK and abroad (e.g. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Ireland).
Diego has an international recognised reputation and has presented his research in the most important conferences on fish telemetry (i.e. the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd International Conference on Fish Telemetry) and also been published in the most relevant journals on fish ecology.
Fisheries Biologist – Chris Daphne
He has over 15 years experience in fisheries management and has worked for the River Conon District Salmon Fishery Board as a Water Bailiff and with the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust as an Assistant Biologist.
During this time Chris has gained SFCC accreditations in electro-fishing, habitat surveys and has completed the SNIFFER barrier assessment course. He holds both the IFM certificate and diploma along with a HNC in Fish Production Management. His primary role is assisting the Senior Biologist in the development and delivery of fisheries research, education and monitoring programmes. Chris also has a particular interest and specialism in eel monitoring and research.