Mike Breen has been a fisheries scientist since 1993, initially in the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen, Scotland, then from 2012, in the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. In this time his research has focused mostly on investigating the causes, magnitude and implications of stress and mortality among animals encountering and being released from fishing gears. Initially, much of his work centred on trying to quantify “collateral” or “unaccounted” fishing mortality (e.g. discard and escape mortality), with the objective of better understanding the impact of fishing activities on fished populations. In the course of this work, Mike became more interested in why these mortalities occurred, as well as how to mitigate them, by understanding how these animals behaved and interacted with the fishing gear during the capture process. A key feature of this work was developing and maintaining international cooperation in this research field, which he did as a member and chair of several expert groups in ICES and FAO. Most recently, Mike has been working with colleagues to develop a strategy to introduce welfare conscious practices to commercial fisheries. One important element of this strategy is providing empirical evidence for the link between capture related stressors and the survivability of released animals, as well as the impact upon meat quality in the retained catch. This would demonstrate that good welfare practices in commercial capture fisheries is not just ethically responsible, but has the potential to make fisheries more sustainable (by reducing unwanted catches, collateral mortality and food wastage) and productive (by improving meat quality and product shelf-life).