Thursday, November 30, 2023

Oceana Appoints Hugo Tagholm as Head of UK Campaigns


Ocean advocacy organization Oceana recently announced it had appointed Hugo Tagholm as Executive Director of its newly expanded policy campaigns in the United Kingdom.

According to Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless:

“The United Kingdom’s waters are highly productive with roughly 1.5 million tonnes of fish caught every year, yet only one-third of its fish stocks are currently considered healthy. All the while, destructive bottom trawling is allowed in all but five of the UK’s offshore marine protected areas. With both Oceana and Hugo’s track records of success, we will win policy victories in the UK that rebuild depleted fisheries, end destructive fishing inside marine protected areas, curb ocean plastic pollution, and much more.”

Post-Brexit, the UK’s exclusive economic zone is ranked among the top 15 fishing areas in the world, yet only 37% of the UK’s fish stocks are considered healthy. Last year, destructive bottom-towed fishing gear was used in over 90% of the UK’s offshore Marine Protected Areas.

Under Tagholm’s leadership, Oceana said it will campaign to fully protect all UK marine protected areas from bottom-towed fishing gear, and to ensure that all commercial fish stocks around the UK, including those shared with the EU, are fished within responsible, science-based levels.

Sharpless added:

“We know that when the right measures are put in place, fish populations bounce back. With science-based policies, we can restore the UK’s seas to abundance, protect important marine habitat, promote nutritious food, and provide livelihoods to those who depend on these critical resources.”

Tagholm said:

“After 14 incredible years at Surfers Against Sewage, I’m thrilled to be joining Oceana to lead the UK team in this most crucial ocean decade. Building on the great work that Oceana has delivered, I look forward to building new campaigns that will drive results to protect marine ecosystems, fight pollution, and restore fish populations in UK seas. From fighting plastic pollution to challenging industrial exploitation, the ocean needs our help more than ever. Delivering targeted campaigns to allow marine life to flourish is becoming increasingly urgent by the day. Oceana in the UK will play an essential role defending and restoring UK seas, engaging policy makers, business leaders and the public with the need for rapid action.”

Prior to joining Oceana, Tagholm served as Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage, one of the UK’s leading marine conservation and campaigning charities. He also led partnerships and fundraising at The Climate Coalition and served as Program Director at Theirworld, among other roles.

Tagholm is a TEDx speaker, columnist for Oceanographic Magazine and avid surfer. In 2022, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for his services to marine conservation by Exeter University.

Oceana said the organization’s expansion in the UK will tackle the country’s need for more effective policies and management, including cooperation with the EU as they share over 70 commercial fish stocks.


John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.