Kate R. Johnson

Assistant Professor

+44 (0) 1856 850605
ICIT Main Office, The Old Academy, Back Road, Stromness, Orkney, KW16 3AW
Roles and responsibilities


  • Marine resource management
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Community based fisheries
  • Marine governance
  • Socio-economic conditions for island and peripheral coastal communities.

My research has studied the use of marine resources in the coastal zone and the relationship to the social and economic conditions for adjacent island and peripheral communities.

My PhD research studied the sea cucumber fishery in Galapagos and the shellfish fishery in Scotland with particular reference to cooperative management structures.

I am currently working on the introduction of Marine Spatial Planning with particular reference to marine renewable energy in Europe.

Selected publications
    • “Accommodating wave and tidal energy - control and decision in Scotland”, Ocean and Coastal Management [65] 26-33, 2012.
    • “Cooperation in fisheries management - trials and tribulations in Scotland”, Marine Policy [27] 433-439, 2003.
    • “Ecosystem-based marine spatial management: review of concepts, policies, tools, and critical issues”, Ocean and Coastal Management [54] (1) 807-820, 2011.
    • “Governance, planning and the European ambition for marine space.”, In: Innovative coastal zone management: sustainable engineering for a dynamic coast. ed. / Alexandra Schofield. London: ICE Publishing, 384-392, 2012
    • “Marine renewables and coastal communities - experiences from the offshore oil industry in the 1970s and their relevance to marine renewables in the 2010s”, Marine Policy 2012 In press.
    • “Monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas: a generic framework for implementation of ecosystem based marine management and its applications”, Marine Policy, 2012.
    • “Perspectives on inshore fisheries ‐ case studies in conflict, participation and cooperation”. Doctoral thesis. Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. 2004.
    • “Resolving conflicts in selecting a programme of fisheries science investigation”, Fisheries Research [79] 313-324, 2006.

After working as a civil engineer for over thirty years I returned to University in 2000 to study for a Doctorate in Marine Resource Management.

I completed a Masters Degree in 2001 going on to research my PhD which was awarded in 2004.

I joined Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) from 2005 until 2008 and since then I have been employed as a Post Doctorate Research Associate at Heriot-Watt University.

My academic and work focus has been on island and coastal communities and their social and economic dependence on marine resources.

My research started with community based fisheries in the Galapagos Islands and their deep seated conflicts with conservation objectives. I helped to develop participatory methods of interaction aimed at striking a balance between the short term needs and long term welfare of the communities concerned.

I continued this work in the Northern Isles of Scotland before working with VSO governance programmes in Vanuatu and the Philippines.

In my present post I am funded by the European Union to conduct research into the interactions between marine renewable energy, traditional marine activities such as fishing and the conservation of intact ecosystems. The objectives are to develop new regimes of marine governance and marine spatial planning for the benefit of the environment and communities.

My earlier career was in civil engineering where I worked from 1967 to 1999. My work focus was on management and the development of infrastructure in many areas across the world including Tanzania, Indonesia, the Middle East and Britain. I specialised in identifying infrastructure needs and the funding structures which would support their construction including international aid and private finance.

I managed large construction projects before moving from the private sector to the public sector in 1993 with the British Waterways Board. I was concerned especially with the regeneration of derelict inner city sites.

I was later an advisor to the Treasury on the development of the Private Finance Initiative.