Mike Bryan (he/him)
I was born/grew up in: I grew up in Belle River, Ontario.
I now live in: I currently live in Campbell River, British Columbia.
I completed my training/education at: I studied Ecosystem Management and Aquaculture at Sir Sandford Fleming College School of Environmental Science and Resources.
What I do at work
I work in a fish hatchery that is owned by a salmon farming company that raises them for food. This hatchery uses tanks and filtration systems to allow maximum control and protection for the fish. My role is to grow the salmon fry until they reach their smolt stage. At the smolt stage they are ready for saltwater.
Throughout the day I perform tasks to keep them healthy and happy. This includes all things from feeding to cleaning their enclosure. I also inspect their behavior, health, and filtration system equipment. I record various data to aid in management and production decisions. I do regular checks and adjustments to their water chemistry to ensure it is suitable for the salmon to thrive in. Clean water and animal welfare are important to me. Unhappy fish don't do that well and growing them poorly can lead to failure.
Aside from daily routines, I work with other fish farmers like myself all the time. We usually work together to carry out projects that either involve handling fish or building/equipment maintenance. I find clear communication with coworkers is vital. Otherwise, tasks are not completed safely or efficiently.
My career path is
When I graduated high school, I started working in the auto industry. I worked there for four years. The salary was good except I found it all to be meaningless. I didn’t feel any pride in the work that I was doing and wished to do something more positively impactful. I wanted something with more opportunity and more related to my interests.
A good friend of mine told me about the aquaculture field. I did some research, and I was hooked! I then saved up money and quit my job to go to college. At first, it was difficult. There was the typical stress of exams and studying. I even had to move away from home to do the training and I found that hard. Also, there were many project assignments and presentations to do. In the end, it all paid off and I achieved my diploma. All it took was not to give up and to work hard, even if it meant some sacrifices.
I am motivated by
My motivation and excitement in work is feeding the salmon I grow. The most interesting aspect of my work is the constant change in the workplace. It never gets dull and there is always something new to learn. But the best thing of all about it is seeing your achievement at the end. It’s a great feeling to see the final size of the salmon when it first started off as an egg.
How I affect peoples’ lives
My career (farming fish) helps address the high demand for seafood. This is important in these times of high population, climate change, and limited fish from our waters to be caught. I agree with others that aquaculture is one of the solutions to food security. We produce a healthy, controllable protein with a low carbon footprint and land use. My career matters because it feeds our cities just like agriculture does.
Outside of work I
My outside of work activities are kayaking, hiking, swimming, fishing, driving around, and playing computer games.
My advice to others
Your personal growth and achievements come through dedication and coming out of your comfort zone. Sometimes things don't go as planned. But your destination can still be reached by adapting and not giving up, ever.
- Foods & Nutrition
- Business & Economics
- Brought people together
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Always wanted to be outside
- Liked helping people
- Was motivated by success
- Wanted to be in charge
- Liked being given specific instructions
- Played video games
- Was really creative
- Never wanted to be in the classroom
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
- Learned best "by doing"
- Liked to design or build things
- Engaged in activities such as fishing and berry picking
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.