I was born/grew up in: I was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick and I grew up in Shediac New Brunswick.
I now live in: I live in Comox, British Columbia.
I completed my training/education at: I graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture from the Dalhousie University Agricultural campus in Nova Scotia
What I do at work
I live in a float house for 8 days at a time and I drive a boat from sea site to sea site. I collect and analyze water samples from saltwater fish farms. I monitor and record the harmful species of phytoplankton and jellyfish that could pose a health risk to the fish. I use microscopes and various water collection tools to identify any harmful organisms in specific regions. I then consult with the farmers on the saltwater farms to find solutions and put forth actions to solve any problems. This monitoring helps us make sure our fish are being grown in the most suitable environment throughout their life cycle in the ocean.
My career path is
I went to agriculture school and worked on a dairy, sheep, and horse farm throughout my time in university. I never saw myself working on a fish farm... ever! After I graduated university with my BSc in animal science, I moved to the west coast of Canada. I went looking to find work within the dairy or beef industry. I ended up working for an Equine (horse) Sports Medicine clinic and a small animal clinic.
Some of my friends, who completed the aquaculture program at Dalhousie, worked for Mowi. One of these friends suggested I apply for a saltwater technician position. I thought that since I had farmed on land, maybe I should try expanding my horizons and try something different. Instead of farming cows on land, I could grow salmon in the ocean!
I was hired as a sea site technician, and I took a liking to the position very quickly. I instantly loved being a farmer on the water. I loved the physical component of the work. I really enjoyed getting to use my science skills to monitor plankton species as part of the daily tasks of being a salmon farmer. I learned the ways of the salmon farmer from the people I worked with.
Once I realized the potential for aquaculture in Canada, I was hooked to growing salmon! I realized this food sector will be a big part of feeding our ever-growing human population. Focusing on my niche in the plankton, I reached out to Mowi's water quality department and expressed my interest. I was given a new position role as a water quality technician in the Broughton Archipelago. I am now a part of the water quality department. I get the pleasure of working with many farmers and seeing the various farms. I have also been involved in group research projects, some of which are in association with universities on Vancouver Island.
I am motivated by
There are never two days the same on the ocean. For me, that is one of the best parts about waking up every day for work! That and experiencing the great things mother nature has to offer. These include such things as dolphin and whale sightings, as well as breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. I love the smell of the fresh salty air when the mountains have just received fresh snow.
I have a great passion for being a part of keeping our oceans healthy and clean. I am also determined to contribute to Canada's food systems. I have great satisfaction from my position at Mowi. This is because I am a part of a food sector that uses one of our largest natural resources responsibly. We are producing food that is sustainable, nutritious, and affordable to Canadians.
How I affect peoples’ lives
There has been little research of harmful plankton and jellyfish in relation to salmon farming in Canada. As a result, the health risks to the salmon being farmed is not really understood. I find it very fulfilling to know I am contributing to leading edge science and research in the aquaculture industry. I am proud to be part of an industry that is growing a sustainable source of food protein.
Outside of work I
I just recently started volunteering at the Oyster River Hatchery. I horseback ride. The library is my safe space… I love to read. I make it a point to explore the amazing hiking trails the island has to offer. In the summertime you can find me on a boat or on my paddle board.
My advice to others
Don't hesitate. Aquaculture is an amazing industry with a lot of potential. The doors that this industry can open for you are countless!
- Literature & Language Arts
- Liked helping people
- Played on a sports team
- Was motivated by success
- Wanted to be in charge
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Liked reading
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Always threw the best parties
- Always knew exactly what I wanted to do
- Learned best "by doing"
- Engaged in activities such as fishing
Let's Talk Science would like to thank the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) for connecting us with the individual profiled above.
The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is the national association that speaks for Canada’s seafood farmers, representing their interests in Ottawa to regulators, policy makers and political leaders. Check their website to learn about the Aquaculture Industry in Canada, how this industry contributes to the production of a sustainable food supply, and the benefits of a seafood diet.