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TMT welcomes new Executive Director

Following a robust, globally competitive recruitment process, the TMT Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Gareth Johnstone as its new Executive Director, effective 1 July 2024.

An accomplished scientist and influential leader, Dr. Johnstone brings a wealth of fisheries sector expertise and experience to TMT.


He was the Director General at CGIAR/WorldFish, where he successfully shaped a new 2030 vision and influential global agenda on aquatic food systems. Dr. Johnstone served as an observer in the UN FAO Committee of Fisheries, as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Steering Committee on 2030 Sustainable Aquaculture, and as a scientific adviser and contributor to the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the OCEAN Expert Committee for the UK Government’s Blue Planet Fund.


Dr. Johnstone will focus on building on the start-up success of his predecessor to boost partnerships and collaboration, consolidate growth, support organisation development and strengthen the impacts of TMT’s work on ocean communities, ecosystems and economies. He will succeed TMT co-founder and outgoing Executive Director Duncan Copeland, who will be stepping down at the end of June 2024 to pursue new and exciting professional and personal endeavours.


Jan Thomas, TMT co-founder and Board Chair: “We are delighted to welcome Gareth as our new Executive Director. His exceptional leadership skills, strategic insights, proven track record of driving organisation and sector growth and innovation, and broad exposure to transdisciplinary sustainable development issues made him the ideal choice to lead TMT. His strong commitment to trust, transparency, collaboration and impact aligns perfectly with the TMT core values, making him an excellent cultural fit for our organisation. We have great confidence in his ability to steer TMT towards a new chapter of success. 
We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Duncan for his enormous role and leadership contribution since the founding of TMT in 2013. As co-founder and the first Executive Director of TMT, Duncan successfully steered TMT through its initial start-up challenges, forging important partnerships, raising funds, creating the institutional structure, and building a talented team committed to reducing illegal fishing and improving ocean governance globally.  We wish him every success in the future and look forward to his continued contribution as an incoming TMT Board member in 2025.”


Duncan Copeland, TMT co-founder and outgoing Executive Director

“It has been the greatest honour of my life to help create and lead TMT and its dedicated team. I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together. Over the past decade, TMT has become a global innovator, leader and the partner of choice for fisheries intelligence, analysis and capacity development for many countries, intergovernmental organisations and non-state actors seeking our technical assistance and expertise.  It has been an incredible journey with an incredible team, and I am confident Gareth is the right person to lead TMT towards continued impact and innovation. I look forward to supporting him and the team during the handover process and my future Board role.”


Dr. Gareth Johnstone, incoming TMT Executive Director

“I am honoured and excited about the opportunity that I have been given to lead such a unique impact-driven organisation like TMT. The complex social, economic and environmental threats that illegal fishing and associated crimes pose on ocean-based communities, global food and nutrition security, climate change, human rights, blue economy, and the sustainable governance of our ocean, make it a challenge of the utmost importance. In this regard, I cannot think of a better organisation through which to make a meaningful contribution to this cause than TMT. I look forward to working closely with the Board and the talented team at TMT and continue to deliver exceptional value and impact for our partners, funders and stakeholders.”



Short bio of Dr. Gareth Johnstone, incoming TMT Executive Director


Dr. Gareth Johnstone is a seasoned scientist and global executive leader with over 30 years of experience in advancing the social and environmental missions of international science organisations, multistakeholder partnerships, private sector companies, government agencies, and global policy bodies across Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific.

As former Director General of WorldFish, Dr. Johnstone’s strategic leadership and science diplomacy led to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit recognizing “aquatic foods” as a priority action for a sustainable food systems transformation and the global 2030 Ocean Action Agenda. Under his leadership, WorldFish’s scientific contributions and impacts were recognized with the 2021 World Food Prize and the 2021 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award, mobilizing a diverse coalition of “aquatic food system champions” and a global movement that reached over 2 billion people.

Dr. Johnstone has dedicated his career to bridging the gap between science, policy, and innovation, ensuring that the best available scientific evidence informs and shapes critical policy and investment decisions that benefit the planet and all people. His expertise spans sustainable development, natural resources management, environmental economics, systems analysis, urban regeneration, geography, and zoology.

He has authored numerous scientific papers, delivered speeches and shaped unique cross-sector partnerships on diverse issues related to ocean governance, food systems, biodiversity, environmental sustainability, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, blue economy, climate change and system-level leadership.

Having lived and worked in diverse countries in Africa (Sudan, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia), Asia (Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia), the Pacific (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea), and Australia, Dr. Johnstone brings a wealth of global experience to TMT.

He is a life member of the UK Royal Geographical Society, and holds a Ph.D. in Geography from King’s College London and a Master's degree in Environmental Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Short bio of Duncan Copeland, TMT Co-Founder and outgoing Executive Director

Duncan Copeland has over 20 years of international experience implementing effective approaches to marine resource management. With a focus on the ‘pointy-end’ of IUU fishing and associated crime his experience includes investigative research, fisheries enforcement support, stakeholder capacity building, human rights, innovative tools and technology development, photography and documentary film. 

A co-founder of TMT, Mr. Copeland has successfully led its team for over a decade through the start-up and organisational establishment phases. His leadership was instrumental in achieving significant milestones for TMT, including scaling activities across Africa and internationally, fundraising, partnerships, and several product and policy innovations related to fisheries intelligence, data systems, and analysis.

He has been a key driver in the establishment of TMT as the internationally recognised organisation it is today, as well as the creation of important international collaborations, including the West Africa Task Force to end illegal fishing, and the Joint Analytical Cell.

An experienced international sailor, Mr. Copeland steps back from the role at the end of June 2024 to pursue a life-long dream of exploring the world’s ocean by sailboat with his wife and two young children.

As part of this journey, they have founded and will launch a new non-profit organisation called Free Range Ocean to use adventure sailing, citizen science and storytelling to inspire action for a healthy ocean among boating and coastal communities.


Mr Copeland holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from The University of British Columbia. He is on the Advisory Board to the University of British Columbia Sea Around Us project, and a member of the Ocean Cruising Club.


After a short break, Mr. Copeland will continue his contribution to TMT’s mission in a new capacity when he joins the TMT Board in 2025.

About TMT

Founded in 2013, Stiftelsen Trygg Mat Tracking, commonly known as TMT, is a Norwegian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing national fisheries authorities and international organisations with fisheries intelligence, analysis, and capacity building. TMT’s main goal is to reduce illegal fishing and improve sustainable ocean governance on a global scale. The organisation collaborates with partner countries facing capacity and resource challenges to effectively build their capabilities to identify, analyse, and utilise relevant information towards ensuring that fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) operations are intelligence-led. TMT is known internationally for its fisheries intelligence-related capabilities, analytical team and tools, national inter-agency and regional cooperation models, technical training methods, and trust-based collaboration with key countries and non-state actors.


Media contact for more information: Larissa Clark, TMT Communications


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