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Ryan Mitchell

Hatchery Supervisor
Mowi Canada West
Ryan Mitchell headshot
Ryan Mitchell headshot
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

My job is to supervise the daily workflow at our salmon hatchery.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Kamloops, British Columbia

I now live in: I currently live in Ladysmith, British Columbia

I completed my training/education at:  I completed my formal education at Vancouver Island University.

What I do at work

As the Hatchery Supervisor at Mowi Canada West my days can vary. It depends how many fish we have, and what part of the cycle they are in. Typically, there is a lot of cleaning, feeding, and maintaining the site. I also collect information about the fish. I come up with new ways to do things more effectively, which makes things better for the fish.

On site, we use all kinds of cool equipment. These include pumps, oxygen compressors and generators. We also use air separators, an ozone machine, oxygenation columns and more. A lot of the equipment is automated. Everything affects the entire system in some way.

Because we work at a remote northern site, we have to have the ability to think quickly. We are the only people around to solve issues. There is nowhere to go for parts if something breaks. We need to be able to fix and troubleshoot equipment. To do this, we need to have a lot of knowledge about how all this equipment interacts with, and affects the fish’s environment. To do this job, learning how the equipment actually works is vital. We need to either fix it or find another way to deal with the issue ourselves.

Working at a remote site is very interesting and it always keeps you learning. My job is also a camp job. This means I live onsite, in accommodations built for the workers. Luckily, the crew I work with is awesome! It is like a second family, and every day we get to work together.

My career path is

When I was in high school, I didn't even know aquaculture was a thing. I stumbled on a program accidentally. I studied Fisheries and Aquaculture at Vancouver Island University. While there, I did several work placements at different aquaculture sites. These included shellfish and government enhancement hatcheries. I also volunteered a lot, doing environmental work with salmon habitat. I never thought I would become a fish farmer, but I sure am glad I did!

I am motivated by

When I'm at work, I'm always excited. It provides meaningful work and lots of opportunities to learn. Aquaculture is a science-based industry. I get to learn about all sorts of new technologies for growing fish. We use a huge range of equipment, and people are always trying to make it better. In this career, I always get to learn new things. These include such things as fish health and biology. I am always fascinated with the advancements we have made.

How I affect people’s lives

Every day I'm at work I get a sense of accomplishment. I get to look at the quality of the fish I'm growing and take pride in what I do. I'm growing fish to feed the world. This is very important in today’s world. My work provides a low cost, environmentally friendly, food. This affects people all around the world. My industry ensures they have access to a sustainable protein source, which is hard for many people to get.

Outside of work I

Outside of work, I love camping, canoeing, fishing, and building custom terrariums. I also love to just sit back at home and relax. I volunteer for different groups involved in salmon habitat work and enhancement.

My advice to others

If you are interested in a similar career, or even if you’re not sure, you have time to try it. Many industries support aquaculture and you may like to work in one of those. The same goes with most industries, so you may stumble on something you like way more

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • History
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Computer Science
  • Music
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Never wanted to be in the classroom
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Learned best “by doing”
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing and berry picking

Partners

Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA)

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.

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