William Dowds, who passed away on Saturday. Photo: Fish Farmer.

Well-known aquaculture figure William Dowds loses cancer fight

William Dowds, a well-known figure in Scottish aquaculture and beyond, has died at the age of 52 after a six-year fight against cancer.

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Dowds, who passed away on Saturday, worked for many years as commercial manager for Fish Farmer magazine and website, and was a familiar sight at aquaculture trade shows.

Writing on the Fish Farmer website today, editor Jenny Hjul said the Northern Irishman had a particular affinity with Norwegians, and had enviable access to the CEOs of many of the biggest salmon farming companies, which was “a tribute to his easy Irish charm (and all those late nights in the bars of Trondheim)”.

Generous and fearless

Hjul told Fish Farming Expert: “William was an oracle on everything to do with salmon farming – not only the technical stuff, but the history, the politics, and the characters.

“He had just about everybody’s telephone number, and just about everybody’s measure, and he shared his contacts generously and his opinions fearlessly.

“He was my guide to the industry, respected colleague, and travelling buddy, and I will miss our adventures on the road, his humour, his stamina, courage and kindness.”

Gustav Erik Blaalid: "Many of us in aquaculture media gladly shared some late hours (and half litres) with William."


Veteran salmon farming journalist and publisher Gustav Erik Blaalid paid tribute to Dowds on Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no.

He said he became acquainted with the advertising salesman in the Nineties.

“The good-humoured William was never afraid to talk to us, even though we were competitors. He didn’t look at it that way. In his eyes, we were colleagues, and that was more important.

Mutual respect

“Whether it was Aqua Nor in Trondheim, Aquaculture UK, Seafood Expo in Brussels or some aquaculture conference, the chances were great of meeting William. Also, after Norwegian Fish Farming expanded its repertoire with our English-language edition, Fish Farming Expert, we stayed in touch. A contact that was characterized by mutual respect. At one point, I offered William a job as sales manager at Fish Farming Expert, but William politely declined. He was flattered by the offer, but out of loyalty to his Fish Farmer employer he wanted to stay.”

Referring to those late hours at the bars in Trondheim, Blaalid wrote: “It was not only me, but many of us who worked in aquaculture media gladly shared some late hours (and half litres) with William. It was a pleasure.”