Michael Soule started his career in 1975 as a technician at the Test and Telecommunications Division of the (South African) Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM). He obtained a National Diploma in Electronics in 1978 and immediately thereafter enrolled at the University of Cape Town in the Department of Electrical Engineering where he graduated with a B Sc degree in Engineering (awarded with honours) at the end of 1982.
After a year spent with ESCOM developing environmental logging software at the Electrical Test and Research facility in Johannesburg, he joined Plessey SA, a telecommunications company based in Cape Town. During the 7 years he spent there, he was involved in the design of linear and switch-mode power supplies, constant voltage transformers and various telecommunications systems ranging from commercial PABX’s to ruggedised military systems suitable for mobile field applications. He gained a wealth of experience in both hardware and software design before leaving Plessey to join the Sea Fisheries Research Institute (SFRI) Cape Town (now known as Marine and Coastal Management, or MCM) as a senior engineer in 1990.
At SFRI he was seconded to the Surveys and Fish Behaviour Section headed by Ian Hampton, and was primarily engaged in developing hydro-acoustic survey equipment and methods, including calibration techniques, target strength estimation and multi-frequency analysis. He specifically focused on single-target recognition problems in in situ target strength estimation, and during his time at the Institute published a number of papers on this subject in international scientific journals. He also participated in numerous acoustic surveys of pelagic fish, acted as cruise leader on specialist surveys evaluating new methodologies, and was intimately involved in the education of research staff, both at SFRI and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Namibia. He currently alternates with Ian Hampton as a member of SCOR Working Group 118 on New Technologies for Detecting Marine Life, and as the Southern African representative on its Working Group on Detection Technologies in Developing Countries.
In 2001 Michael left SFRI to join Marine Radio Acoustic Devices (MRAD), the SIMRAD agents in Cape Town, as a hydro-acoustic consultant. It was during this time that he and Ian Hampton teamed up on a number of projects that ultimately led to the formation of Fisheries Resource Surveys (FRS), in December 2002. Michael is ultimately responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of surveys, including the development, calibration and testing of all specialized equipment used. He is also actively involved in all aspects of FRS’ survey operations, from planning and logistics to calibration, survey execution, data management, analysis and report writing.
Recently, Michael’s broad sea-going and engineering experience has proven to be invaluable in developing and supporting the Sales and Services Division of FRS, which is an increasingly important facet of the Company’s activities.