Allison Stagg Kendall
What is your job title and brief job description?
Senior Project Biologist – SIMCorp Marine Environmental
We conduct environmental monitoring which includes water and sediment sampling and analysis, data analysis, compilation and preparation of reports. Also, preparation of aquaculture site applications including the collection of production information, environmental data, site surveying, baseline assessments and preparation of reports based on information of all necessary documentation. We also conduct marine environmental assessments and prepare reports based on information requirements under various Provincial and Federal Acts and regulations. As a senior biologist, my job also entails management of the Newfoundland Operations and supervision of the staff and office based in Harbour Breton.
How is your career related to the aquaculture industry?
Environmental monitoring is a requirement of the Provincial and Federal governments in order to operate an aquaculture farm. The majority of our work is for the aquaculture industry, carrying out pre-site assessments, environmental data collection to determine aquaculture site selection baseline assessments, and environmental monitoring.
What type of service or product do your or your company provide?
Our company provides aquaculture management services, whether it is in aiding in site selection, site applications, environmental monitoring, mitigation plans, company asset evaluations, or risk assessment.
What is your education background and/or work experience and how has it assisted your in this aquaculture career path?
I completed Sustainable Aquaculture at Marine Institute. I chose to specialize and do the aquaculture programs at MI since there were very little or no job opportunities with a general biology degree. The job opportunities in aquaculture are numerous so the ADSA program opened several doors for me. I did my work term for the ADSA programs for this company in St. Stephen, N.B. and have been working with the company ever since. The opportunity arose for me to move home to N.L. and open a branch office here so I jumped on that opportunity.
What attracted you to your current job?
I was highly interested in the environmental side of aquaculture and I strongly believe that the health of the environment is important to the operation of the farm and health of the fish. As well, the variety of work this job entailed was a great attraction including a mix of fieldwork, lab work, and office work.
What are the benefits of this aquaculture job?
The major benefits of this job include the opportunities it has provided me to meet and interact with several different players in the aquaculture industry. It ranges from top managers of the aquaculture companies, to the site workers to government officals. The fact that the job entails such a variety of tasks is a great benefit in itself, since it keeps the work interesting and never boring. Another benefit is the fact that it is a small company which creates a great working environment. The staff and management have a close working relationship, and hours can be flexible if needed.
What does your job entail on a daily basis (Eg. Activities, duties, etc.)?
My job varies on a daily basis from field work, to lab work, to office work, to meetings. Field work includes carrying out underwater video of the sea-floor, either before an aquaculture site is implemented or beneath the cages after the site has been in place. The video then has to be analysed to determine the abundance of the benthic fauna and flora, and also to determine the environmental condition of the sea-floor. Field work also includes collection sediment from the sea-floor, deploying equipment to collect environmental data such as temperature data, current data, depth profiling, and other environmental parameters. Lab work includes sulphide and redox analysis on the benthic sediments to determine the oxygen content in the sediment. Office work entails compiling and entering data into spreadsheets, report writing to submit to Provincial and Federal government agencies and clients, report printing and binding, as well as day-to day administrative tasks.
What advice would you give to people considering job opportunities in aquaculture?
I would recommend a job in aquaculture to anyone. It is an excellent industry to work in but also it is an excellent time to enter into the industry, as it is only going to grow from here. It is the fishery of our future, so it will have great promise for the future.
What it your favourite thing about your job?
My favourite thing about my job is the variety it offers. I get a good mix of work on the water and work in a lab environment, as well as in front of a computer at the office. You never get bored, as you are never doing the same thing. It is a great occupation to get to see and experience all sides of the industry including the farm operations; government policies and regulations, and the difference in the operations in different Atlantic Provinces.