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Hallam student is saving Dory

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Carl Goodman is a BSc (Hons) Geography student at Sheffield Hallam. He was awarded £1,000 from the Sir Michael & Lady Morven Heller Bursary in 2015 to help him improve the state of the world's seas and oceans.

Carl is now director of his own social enterprise Sustainable Aquatics Limited.

Tropical fish tanks can be a thing of beauty and tranquillity. Research has shown that watching tropical fish can lower stress levels prior to medical procedures and even relieve some of the side-effects suffered by those with Alzheimer's.

But what's good for humans can be detrimental to the health of the world's seas and oceans.

Many of the tropical fish species found in aquariums and pet shops come from coral reefs in Indonesia and the Philippines, where fisherman stun the fish with cyanide traps. The poison causes the fish to float to the surface leading to an easy catch for the fisherman and a quick profit from selling to pet shops on the other side of the world.

These practices can injure and kill the fish, as well as damage the precious coral reefs which provide shelter for marine life.

Through practices like this, species such as the Royal or Regal Blue Tang - the fish that Dory from the Disney Pixar Finding Nemo film was based on - have been over collected and are now in serious danger in the wild.

A lifetime fascination with the sea and a strong sense of environmental responsibility meant that geography student, Carl Goodman, couldn't just do nothing. Instead, he launched Sustainable Aquatics - a social enterprise which aims to improve standards within the ornamental aquatics industry.

"My fascination with fish started when I first went scuba diving when I was 11 years old. Since then I began to learn how the marine ecosystem functions and how irresponsible fishing is having a negative impact on our seas and oceans.

"While I was growing up, I had a Saturday job in an aquatics shop and it was here that I noticed the lack of information for buyers about how fish were sourced." Sustainable Aquatics works with retail outlets and their suppliers to raise awareness about unsustainable fishing practices and what they can do to improve standards through informed purchases.

Through operating a membership scheme, fish stores can join to show to their customers that they are acting in a sustainable manner and abiding by Sustainable Aquatics' code of conduct and labelling protocols.

As a social enterprise, the profits made from membership fees are reinvested into the community and conservation schemes in order to improve sustainable and ethical sourcing of fish around the world.

Carl was awarded £1000 from the Heller Bursary to help him with the start-up costs of Sustainable Aquatics.

The Sir Michael & Lady Morven Heller Bursary is intended to financially help students do something completely outside of their area of academic study.

The Hallam Fund offers opportunity bursaries like the one Carl was awarded, to help students take risks and pursue new opportunities they wouldn't have been able to otherwise, so that they can increase their employability and make an impact on the world.

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