DPhil Student

Will Sharkey


After completing my undergraduate studies, I worked for a not-for-profit organisation where I analysed survey data to support a community-based monitoring programme in Guyana. Examining perceptions and observations on trends in hunting, fisheries management and traditional and commercial farming practices sparked my interest in natural resource management and led me to pursue an MSc at Imperial College London. Following my MSc, I worked for a consulting firm specialising in fisheries and the management of aquatic environments. Here, I was fortunate to work on range of interdisciplinary projects and gain field experience in Liberia, west Africa. Working with local fishers and government agency staff on issues of livelihoods furthered my interest in community-based management and my desire to return to academia to undertake a PhD.

Research Interests

My research interests centre around understanding how people and natural resources interact. Specifically, I am interested in the factors that enable or constrain the ability of local actors to access, control and manage natural resources.

Current Research


My PhD explores the contribution of local communities to protected area law enforcement. Using a case-study of a community warden patrol programme in the Cardamom Mountains (Cambodia), this PhD offers an opportunity to examine how different models for involving communities in protected area management may be strengthened and best implemented.

I am interested in developing and applying participatory methods to document local ecological knowledge, as well as exploring community perceptions on the effect of protected area rules on local livelihoods.

Brief CV


2016 – 2017       Imperial College London. MSc Environmental Technology:

Thesis: The effectiveness of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund in enhancing farmland biodiversity.

2009 – 2013       University of Edinburgh. MA (Hons) Geography.


2008 – 2009       University of the Arts London, Chelsea College of Art and Design. Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.


Professional experience:

2018 -2020          Consultant, MRAG, London.

2018                        Researcher – Supply Chain Programme, Global Canopy, Oxford.

2014 – 2016       Renewable Energy Analyst, EIC, London.

2014                        Researcher & Consultant, Global Canopy, Oxford.

2014                        Education for Sustainable Development Researcher, Regional Centre of Expertise,  Angra do Heroísmo (Azores).

Supervision and Funding

Will is supervised by Aidan Keane (University of Edinburgh), E.J. Milner-Gulland (University of Oxford) and Pablo Sinovas (Fauna and Flora International). The PhD is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).


Selected project experience includes:

Coordinated assessments of marine species and habitats under the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2020). This project aimed to gain an understanding of the level of coordination, alignment and efficiency of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive monitoring, assessment and reporting on marine species and habitats.

Assessing the mitigation measures for a hydropower development in Liberia (2019). Consultant on a multi-year project to assess the dynamics of fisheries resources and changes due to the rehabilitation of a hydropower dam in Liberia.

The Cost of Harmful Subsidies (2019). Researcher on a project that examined the scale and harmful effects of fisheries subsidies from the largest subsidising countries.

A scoping study on socio-economic data and indicators of IOTC fisheries (2019). This project provided an overview of the current situation in the Indian Ocean by outlining the sampling systems that are currently in place (for the main artisanal fisheries), including the type of sampling programme being implemented.

Rapid assessment of evidence collation on abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (2018 -2019). Undertook a rapid evidence assessment review of previously completed and existing work to investigate and address the causes, impacts (social, environmental and economic) and management activities relating to abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear or ‘ghost gear’.

Study on ownership and exclusive rights of fisheries means of production (2018 – 2019). This study analysed the ownership of EU fishing vessels and the concentration of ownership and quota ownership in the fleets.

Review of Fisheries Producer Organisations in the UK and comparison with other countries (2018). Researcher on a project that reviewed the current roles and operational structure of Fish Producer Organisations (POs).


2017. Environmental Resources Management Prize for best thesis, MSc Environmental Technology, Imperial College London.

Published Papers

de Lange E, Sharkey W, Castelló y Tickell S, Migné J, Underhill R, Milner-Gulland EJ. Communicating the Biodiversity Crisis: From “Warnings” to Positive Engagement. Tropical Conservation Science. 2022;15. doi: 10.1177/19400829221134893

Sharkey, W, Arthur, RI, Daniels, R. Change in fisheries access arrangements as a result of hydropower development: The case of reservoir fisheries at the Mount Coffee hydropower scheme in Liberia. Fish Manag Ecol. 2020; 00: 1– 11. https://doi.org/10.1111/fme.12459

BIEWG (2020). Rapid assessment of evidence collation on Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG). A report produced by MRAG for Marine Biodiversity Impacts Evidence Working Group members Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, the Marine Management Organisation, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Centre of Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Project No: ME5232, 72pp

Arthur R., Heyworth, S., Pearce, J., Sharkey, W. (2019). The cost of ending harmful fishing subsidies. IIED Working Paper. IIED, London.

AZTI, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (European Commission), MRAG, NEF. (2019). Study on ownership and exclusive rights of fisheries means of production. Publications Office of the European Union.