By Debbi Pedreschi (Marine Institute)

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Annual Science Conference (ASC) took place in Dublin, Ireland, from 19–22 September 2022. The conference was the first ASC hosted as a hybrid conference, with options for both online and in-person participation. The week was a whirlwind tour of cutting-edge research combined with extensive discussion, debate, and brainstorming.

The hybrid format opened new doors to innovative approaches to sessions, which meant attendees never quite knew what to expect with the session discussions ranging from panels, to sub-group discussions, and fish bowls (!) which kept it dynamic, interesting and interactive. There were also dedicated Early Career Scientist events, excellent keynote speakers (including an ECS and MISSION ATLANTIC’s own Dave Reid), and a conference dinner at the Guinness Storehouse! After years of working remotely, the ASC provided an important opportunity for reinvigoration, reconnection, networking, collaboration, innovation and of course, inspiration!

MISSION ATLANTIC was represented through a number of presentations at the conference, with the most local case study, the Celtic Sea, being presented in my talk 'scoping for risk: engaging stakeholders in integrated ecosystem assessment'. I also co-convened the ‘out-of-the-box’ ‘Krakens Lair’ network session with Marie-Julie Roux from Canada. The sessions were inspired by ‘Dragons Den’ and ‘Shark Tank’ with participants encouraged to ‘pitch’ their best idea to advance ecosystem-based management without the use of a presentation, which resulted in science karaoke, story-telling, mini-plays, and impassioned speeches. I also made my skirt to represent my pitch - you can listen to the story that inspired it here.

The Krakens Lair. L-R Mark Dickey Collas (ACOM Chair and kraken), Marie-Julie Roux (session co-convener), Jorn Schmidt (SCICOM chair and kraken) and Debbi Pedreschi (session co-convener).

The ASC also saw Prof. Dave Reid (MISSION ATLANTIC WP1 co-lead) receive his 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award alongside 2020’s winner Clara Ulrich, and 2022 winner Manuela Azevedo. Dave has been an active contributor and leader within ICES having contributed to 25 working groups, 30 workshops, 2 strategic initiatives, 4 steering groups, and the Science Committee (SCICOM) over the years. You can see more about Dave and his achievement here, where he modesty shares his success with his research team at the Marine Institute.

To see more ASC highlights, including the #fishyfashion at the #fintage stall, check out #ICESASC22 on Twitter.