In August 2019, David became the Director of Paul Johnston Associates Ltd Fisheries Consultants having worked closely with the business since returning from New Zealand in 2014 and previously between 1999 and 2001. Paul Johnston works on a sub-consultancy basis as required.
David has over 22 years of expertise in fisheries, aquatic ecology, and water monitoring and assessment. David completed a BSc (1st Class Hons) in Zoology at Queens University Belfast, where he investigated potential effects of water and habitat quality on sea trout spawning and recruitment. David’s PhD (Queens, Belfast 2001) was funded by the Erne Salmon Management Programme and investigated the effects of environmental stressors on trout diet, growth and population dynamics. Before returning to Ireland, David was the senior surface water quality scientist at Canterbury Regional Council, New Zealand (2010-2014), a research scientist at Landcare Research, New Zealand (2007-2010), and a post-doctoral research scientist at the Great Lakes Institute, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (2003-2006).
In New Zealand, David managed the region’s surface water quality monitoring programme and conducted research into the effects of multiple stressors on fish. In Canada, David investigated sources and pathways of aquatic invasive species in the North American Great Lakes. Between 1998 and 2003, David worked in Northern Ireland as an environmental consultant on various projects including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), protected species surveys (European otter, Irish Hare, Freshwater Pearl Mussel) and water quality monitoring and assessment.
David is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), a registered full member of the Institute of Fisheries Management (MIFM), a visiting Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at Queens University Belfast, and has published over 40 papers in national and international peer reviewed scientific journals in applied fisheries and freshwater ecology.
Paul graduated from Liverpool University in 1975 gaining a BSc in Zoology with Freshwater Fisheries as a specialist subject. A PhD was later completed through a research project on the flounder population of the River Dee in North Wales.
Dr Johnston now has over 30 years experience in fisheries biology and management with a career falling into 3 distinct phases:
- Manager of the DANI (now DAERA) River Bush Salmon Project, a long-term research programme on the biology and population dynamics of salmon (1979-1988)
- Freshwater Production Manager with Northern Salmon Co Ltd, the only commercial salmon farming operation in Northern Ireland (1979-1995)
- Paul Johnston Associates, Fisheries Consultants (since 1996)
Paul has been a registered member of the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) since 1986 and was elected a Fellow in 2015 (FIFM). He has also received Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status from the Society for the Environment.