by Gordon Neil (Chairperson of the Commission), Osvaldo Urrutia (Vice-Chairperson of the Commission)
and Johanne Fischer (Executive Secretary)
The SPRFMO community is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Robin Allen on 18 March 2015 in Blenheim, New Zealand.
Robin served as the interim Executive Secretary of the Organisation since 2007 and played a significant role in the negotiations of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean. He combined extensive knowledge and experience with a gentle, modest and kind personality; traits that gained him the respect and affection of his peers, many of whom regarded him as a good friend rather than just a good colleague.
Dr. Robin Allen was born in 1947 in New Zealand. With an educational background in mathematics and statistics, he earned his Ph.D. in zoology in Canada, followed by a distinguished career as a fishery scientist in New Zealand culminating in his appointment as Assistant Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Group Director of the MAF Fisheries Policy. Robin always had a keen interest in international fisheries management which led him to work for the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, located in La Jolla, California, USA, for five years from 1976 to 1981. However, it wasn’t until 1995, when Robin’s international career really took off with his assignment as the IATTC Assistant Director. He was elected Director of IATTC in 1999 and stayed on for two full terms, until 2007, after which he accepted the position as Interim Executive Secretary of the SPRFMO. His highly relevant experience with Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and, in particular, the duties and responsibilities of their secretariats was invaluable when it came to establishing the new SPRFMO Secretariat and the requisite data management, finance administration and communications capabilities.
Robin was looking forward to his next “profession” as a wine farmer in New Zealand. His passing was unexpected, after a short and severe illness.
With Robin's passing, the SPRFMO Parties and the Secretariat have lost a valued friend and mentor, who even after retiring did not lose contact and was always available to give sound advice and encouragement when needed. He will be sorely missed.