Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man who was renowned in Scottish aquaculture industry

Obituary: William Dowds

Respected: William Dowds
Respected: William Dowds
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A Northern Ireland man who was a "legendary figure" of the fishing industry has passed away after a long battle with cancer.

William Dowds (52) worked as the commercial manager for Fish Farmer magazine and was widely respected for promoting the aquaculture industry.

After repeated health scares in recent years, he died peacefully at his home in Glenrothes, Scotland, on Saturday with his wife Wendy by his side.

In May this year the talented salesman received a lifetime achievement honour at the Aquaculture Awards in Edinburgh.

His former colleagues have praised him for his dedication to the job and for his bravery and good humour in his final weeks.

An article for the magazine said his entry into the profession was typically idiosyncratic, having spent his early adult life playing keyboards in a Belfast rock band.

"The skills he picked up may not have appeared transferable to his future livelihood, but the touring routine obviously suited him," it said, adding that this was shown by his talent for promotion on his travels around the world to promote the magazine.

The article added: "He had a particular affinity with Norwegians - an invaluable trait in the salmon farming sector - and had enviable access to the CEOs of many of the biggest companies, a tribute to his easy Irish charm (and all those late nights in the bars of Trondheim)."

Mr Dowds became a fixture of aquaculture trade shows, usually seen in his beloved kilt, and even when his failing health may have forced others to slow down.

In the last six years he fought repeated bouts of cancer and had still hoped to make the annual Aqua Nor exhibition in Norway later this month.

His former colleagues said his "Irish charm" and his easy way with valuable customers was a major asset to the company.

"He rarely missed an opportunity to turn a good story into an excellent advertising bonanza, but he was also unfailingly generous with his expertise and was as often on the phone dishing out advice as he was closing a deal," they said.

Mr Dowds retired from Fish Farmer last year on medical grounds, before joining International Aquafeed. He had also worked for several other international brands including Coca-Cola, Diageo and British Aerospace.

"The stoicism William brought to professional challenges was very much in evidence as he coped with one health setback after another," the tribute from Fish Farmer said.

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