Bruce grew up in Zululand and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. After finishing his matric at Weston Agricultural College in Mooi River in 1981, he completed his military service as a paratrooper. Before and after his military training, Bruce worked as a research assistant at the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) in Durban where his love of marine biology, and fish in particular, developed. He then did his BSc at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (PMB Campus), followed by an Honours and Master’s degree in Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University. His MSc focused on the biology of two reef fish species in the Tsitsikamma National Park (blacktail and zebra). It is here where Bruce developed his understanding of the importance of marine protected areas (MPAs), something he has continued to highlight throughout his career. He started work as a scientist at ORI (1992) and his research activities have included projects on estuarine recreational and artisanal fisheries in Lake St Lucia, evaluation of marine linefishery participation and management in KZN and the Transkei, compilation and editing of two books on South African linefish status reports, stock assessments of some important linefish species, marine biodiversity surveys, establishment, management and monitoring of MPAs in Pondoland and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, managing a shore-based linefish observer programme, recreational fisheries monitoring and linefish tagging. He has published over 50 papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, supervised a number of post-graduate students and has been the past chairman of the Marine Linefish Research Group (MLRG) and the South African Marine Linefish Management Association (SAMLMA).