Opening our doors to our neighbours in Weymouth and Lowestoft

14 December 2023

Lowestoft attendees at the fisheries stand

On the 13th December, we were delighted to welcome over 100 members of our local community into our laboratories in both Weymouth and Lowestoft for our Public Talks. 

Our series of Public Talks provides an exciting opportunity for us to welcome our neighbours onto our sites, learn more about what we do and to make science more accessible to the general public. Both events included presentations delivered by Cefas scientists highlighting the impact of our scientific research and how we are working to support healthy and productive marine and freshwater ecosystems. 

In Lowestoft, the talks kicked off with a warm welcome and a brief history of Cefas by Clare Leech. Dr David Righton presented a fascinating talk on tracking the migration of the European eel, shedding light on its long and slow journey to the Sargasso Sea. Dr. Rosalyn Putland then took the audience on a captivating exploration of the hidden world beneath the waves, showcasing the harmonious "orchestra" of marine life. Linford Mann wrapped up the talks in Lowestoft by emphasising the importance of plankton and its impact on marine ecosystems. 

Guests in Lowestoft were also able to visit a range of science showcase stands where they could learn about Cefas’  role in supporting sustainable fisheries, from fieldwork and data collection to stock assessment advice. They also discovered the world of analytical chemistry and how Cefas identify man-made and natural contaminants in environmental settings. At the Radiochemistry stand, guests learnt how they carry out routine monitoring, analysing anything that serves as a pathway to people for radionuclides. 

An attendee from the Lowestoft event said,

"Informative, interesting and very relevant. It was simply wonderful!”

Attendees in Lowestoft
Lowestoft attendees at the fisheries stand

Meanwhile, in Weymouth, Dr Rachell Hartnell welcomed guests and introduced Cefas, highlighting what we do, where we do it and why we do it. Dr. Craig Baker-Austin delved into the history of the Weymouth facilities, offering a glimpse into the evolution of our Weymouth-based science. Joshua Rose and James Lowther highlighted the important work they do to understand and keep the UK’s seafood healthy. Finally, we showcased our international work with presentations from Dr. Jessica Witt who introduced the One Food programme and Louise Smith who shared details about the Ocean Country Partnerships Program. 

An attendee from the Weymouth event said,

“It was great to be invited into Cefas and to have the opportunity to learn more about what goes on here, particularly in the areas of food safety and internationally to support other countries. The speakers were very enthusiastic about their areas of work and all the staff involved were incredibly welcoming.” 

Rachel Hartnell opens the Weymouth event
Weymouth attendees chatting with scientists

The event was well-received by the community and drew a large audience, with free tickets filling up quickly. Attendees had the opportunity to talk with the scientists, ask questions, and gain a deeper understanding of the diverse range of scientific research conducted by Cefas. The talks showcased just a fraction of the extensive work that we do, leaving the audience eager for more. 

We would like to express our thanks to all the attendees and speakers. We have had an overwhelming response to these events and plan to host more public talks in 2024 in both Lowestoft and Weymouth. 

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