What is your job title and brief job description?
Acting Director of Aquaculture Management, Fisheries Management Branch
I coordinate the Department’s input into the Province’s one-stop-shop aquaculture licensing process, help develop regional and national priorities for aquaculture , represent the region on many national initiatives (e.g., the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program). I manage the Department’s AIMAP funding program for the Region, liaise with industry and government colleagues, and ensure the Department’s responsibilities under the Fisheries Act are respected in managing and developing aquaculture for the benefit of all resource users.
What does your job entail on a daily basis?
I am in regular communication with others from industry, academia and government. I meet regularly with others in DFO on policy, science, and licences. I make sure everyone involved in aquaculture at DFO are involved in the decisions having to do with it. This requires a lot of reading in order to keep up on what’s new in aquaculture (seafood news, trade publications, etc.).
How is your career related to the aquaculture industry?
Because DFO is the lead federal agency for NL, my role is to make sure that DFO has input into the licensing of aquaculture sites in the province and also that all our responsibilities under the Fisheries Act for fisheries and aquaculture are taken into account.
What type of service or product do you or your company provide?
Regulatory, technical, science and policy advice. Funding programs/provide financial advice to the industry. Licensing and enforcement.
What is your educational background and/or work experience and how has it assisted you in this aquaculture career path?
Academically, I have a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in marine biology from MUN (with a minor in French), an Advanced Diploma in Aquaculture from Marine Institute, and a Master of Science in biology (aquaculture thesis) with UNB. I completed a work term in Scotland as part of my Advanced Diploma, after which I worked contracts with DFO prior to working with DFA for 7 years as a Marine Finish Aquaculturist and Aquaculture Development Officer. Since 2008 I have been working with DFO in various capacities, including habitat management, fisheries management, and now aquaculture management. I was also heavily involved with the Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC), beginning as a volunteer while a grad student, culminating in being President of the Association in 2006. My education and increasing experience helped me get started on my career path, and the more experience I got the further into my career, the more opportunities to which I was exposed. This is especially true of the Advanced Diploma program at MI, as it was truly my introduction to aquaculture. The program was so broad that it prepared me for a multitude of different career paths in aquaculture.
What attracted you to your current job?
For many years, even before working with the Department, there was always one job I wanted at DFO which is the one I am in now. I enjoyed how my role puts me in touch with the various sectors of DFO as well as other departments and levels of government, academia, and industry on a daily basis. It is this lack of monotony that excites me; no day is the same. My job with DFO also allowed me to move back to St. John’s, my home town, which puts me and my family closer to our own families. Any job with the federal government also has its own incentives relating to compensation, benefits, and work experience. I have lots of good working relationships which I have been able to build on with this job.
What are the benefits of this aquaculture job?
There are the inherent benefits of working in a federal position, but beyond that, the coordination role of all aquaculture is so broad, and I’m involved in so many different things in DFO, science policy, habitat, environment interactions and deal with a lot of great people.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I enjoy interacting with the aquaculture communities, especially the close knit group here in the province, and I enjoy keeping those relationships going.
What advice would you give to people considering job opportunities in aquaculture?
Do not be afraid to get involved with different aquaculture events that can get your name out there to potential employers, such as volunteering at NAIA or AAC conferences. I would recommend to get as much diverse experience as you can, because there are so many opportunities that you can tap into. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I left aquaculture and worked at fisheries management and that experience has helped me do a better job at what I do now. For example it helps put fisheries perspectives into aquaculture thinking.