Jonah van Beijnen is a passionate biologist with a focus on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. He strongly believes that the sustainable production and consumption of seafood is key in ensuring a better world for all of us. In 2008, he co-founded the organization Fins and Leaves in the Philippines and developed one of the country’s first grouper (Epinephelus) hatcheries using sustainable production methods only.
In 2015, he founded VB Consultancy and recent projects he has worked on include the draft report on ESG risks in aquaculture for the FAIRR investor network, the development of training guidelines on Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) for the ASEAN region, the development of a national standard for sustainable aquaculture in Myanmar and the creation of a blueprint for the sustainable production of seafood for the NEOM mega project in Northern Saudi Arabia.
SPECIALTIES: Project management, due diligence, evaluations and audits, project negotiations and strategy, interim management, aquaculture legislation.
Jonah works with a variety of other technical experts, depending on the needs of the client. Other senior technical experts that are involved in assignments for VB Consultancy include:
None of these experts are working exclusively for VB Consultancy and they can be contacted for independent individual assignments as well.
Kyra Hoevenaars MSc.
Kyra Hoevenaars is an aquaculture consultant specialized in farm management and operations. Kyra has vast experience in setting-up and managing aquaculture projects for different species as well as providing training for hatchery, on-growing operations, and Good Aquaculture Practices in Asia, Africa, and Europe. She has been involved in multiple research projects on fisheries and aquaculture and has conducted assessments and audits of aquaculture establishments in various countries. Kyra is also an experienced project manager with strong skills in financial management, monitoring, and evaluation, including due diligence.
Kyra also owns her own consulting firm Tubig Consultancy.
SPECIALTIES: Project management, financial management and accounting, sustainable development, sustainable aquaculture, Good Aquaculture Practices.
Dr. Heiko Seilert
Dr. Heiko Seilert holds a doctoral degree in fisheries science from the Christian Albrechts Universitaet zu Kiel. Most of his career he worked in Southeast Asia as well as a few years in West Africa. For the past two decades he has implemented fisheries-related projects and programs for various donors, including FAO, EU and World Bank, advising governments, NGOs and the private sector on all aspects of sustainable fisheries management. He has also advised numerous aquaculture related projects in Asia.
Besides his activities as fisheries / aquaculture management advisor Heiko is an ISO 9001 certified lead auditor and provides as certified Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Program Manager for Assurance Services International (ASI) accreditation services for Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) for the eco-label MSC.
Some of his high-profile publications include Small-scale fishery in Southeast Asia: a case study in Southern Thailand and Interactive mechanisms for small-scale fisheries management: report of the regional consultation, both published by FAO. Recently Heiko also has been involved in several aquaculture related assignments for NEOM in Saudi Arabia, including developing the seafood production strategy for the project in collaboration with the team of VB Consultancy and conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment of an existing marine finfish growout farm in the NEOM area.
SPECIALTIES: Fisheries management and socio-economics, sustainable aquaculture, project management, i.e. all aspects of the project cycle, and fisheries audits.
Dr. Gidon Minkoff
Dr. Gidon Minkoff has dedicated his entire 35-year career to the development of biological and engineering systems for the hatchery production of marine fish juveniles – specifically species new to aquaculture. He studied the biology of rotifers and their mass culture, for which he obtained an MSc in 1984, after which he studied the biology of marine fish larvae for which he obtained a PhD in 1987 from Stirling University.
Since concluding his PhD, he has worked in the private sector while providing invaluable inputs through good relations with the scientific community. His expertise is the accumulation of firsthand experience from multiple projects in which, based on fundamental biological requirements of the organisms to be produced, production systems have been designed and operated. This has encompassed all aspects from design, licensing, construction, budgeting, daily operations, workforce management, and delivery of fish to clients. His work experience encompasses fish species from both warm and cold waters as well as deep-water fish. He also had the opportunity to develop the first production systems for unique fish such as Bluefin tuna, Yellowfin tuna, Sablefish, and Patagonian tooth fish. Gidon also owns his own consulting firm Fish Hatchery Consulting.
SPECIALTIES: Larval rearing of marine finfish, hatchery nursery and growout design, farm trouble shooting.
Gregg Yan MSc.
Gregg Yan is the founder of the Best Alternatives Campaign, which works to promote sustainable seafood while transforming the trade in wild-caught ornamental fish and invertebrates. He formerly helmed communications for WWF, Oceana and the Asia Pacific Association of Communication Directors’ CSR arm. He is based in the Philippines, has a great passion for aquaculture and writes regularly about aquaculture, agriculture, wildlife conservation and anthropology while shooting photographs for books, magazines and museums.
SPECIALTIES: Communication, writing, sustainability, Asia.
Natasha de Bats MSc.
Natasha de Bats was born in the Gambia and grew up in various countries in Africa; Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland. With this background Natasha developed an intense interest in the combination of nature conservation and international development issues, therefore choosing to study International Development at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, with a minor in Nature and Society. In 2012, Natasha was selected to participate in the Advanced Master International Development (AMID) traineeship programme of the Radboud University of Nijmegen.
Natasha’s driving forces are her intercultural background and values, combined with a passion for nature and the environment. Geared with a positive attitude, she thrives on challenges and particularly enjoys harnessing creativity and developing alternative ideas as a social science researcher, illustrator and visual changemaker.
Natasha also runs her own design firm deScribe.
SPECIALTIES: Visual changemaking, illustrations, systemic thinking, environmental policy, local participation, nature education and monitoring, learning & impact evaluation (MLE).
Javier Parra MSc.
Javier Parra is a biologist who has over two decades of experience on industrial microalgae production and microalgae applications for marine fish hatcheries. He has broad experience in industrial microalgae production, from plant design to production processes and operation.
He has a thorough understanding of specific ancillary technology for microalgae production including process automation, water treatment, raceway and tubular reactor design, harvesting systems, continuous seawater pasteurization, continuous bag-based microalgae systems, automated generation of big scale inoculants, all with a special focus on efficiency and cost-reduction. He is also experienced in commercial microalgae diet development for zooplankton and its applications for marine fish hatcheries.
SPECIALTIES: Microalgal production, zooplankton production. Design and commissioning of microalgal and zooplankton production systems. Larval rearing of marine finfish. Specific automation design.
Nicky Vermeer is a graphic designer, with over two decades of experience, working with a focus on visual identity and editorial design. His designs are known for their simplicity and clarity, and often portray the essential qualities of the object, or topic, he is representing. He has a passion for visualizing complex information in a way that makes the information clear to understand and more accessible.
In 2008, he founded Univorm and is working with clients spanning the educational, NGO and commercial world. The work encompasses a wide-range of design areas, including visual identities, editorial designs, annual reports, books, website design, as well as wayfinding systems and packaging.
Alongside this, Nicky was a lecturer Design at HAN University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands for over 4 years. Here he taught national and international students to understand the fundamentals of graphic design, branding and visual communication.
SPECIALTIES: graphic design, art direction, visual identities, editorial design, annual reports, books, website design.