Melissa Burke

What is your job title and brief job description?

Aquaculture Development Officer – NL Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture

Liaison between industry and government. Work directly with the aquaculture growers, participate in complete biological and technical assessments for new aquaculture sites, research projects, etc.

How is your career related to the aquaculture industry?

Directly related – totally hands on.

What type of service or product do you or your company provide?

Our department provides funding extension and support services to industry. Also, fish health and biophysical monitoring, licensing, policy, etc.

What is your educational background and/or work experience and how has it assisted you in this aquaculture career path?

I obtained a Masters in Science and Aquaculture, plus Marine Environmental Technology. The Marine environmental education helped provide the physciological requirements and environmental effects on a farmsite. I also worked overseas in Norway for a few years doing fish health work on a small scale Halibut farm which helped me gain an appreciation for the work involved in farming the way it’s done in Norway.

What attracted you to your current job?

I wanted to be a part of a growing industry and love working for the Provincial Government.  I had spring and summer opportunities in other provinces but wanted to remain in NL.  There were many jobs available elsewhere (veterinary lab technician – BC, R & D – NB, Research Assisstant – Maine) as well as other positions available in NL.

What are the benefits of this aquaculture job?

It keeps me at home, provides stability and security and allows me to use all facets of my education and interests.  There is also lots of travel involved which I absolutely love, and there is lots of room for growth within the department.

What advice would you give to people considering job opportunities in aquaculture?

I would definitely recommend working in this industry. There are lots of opportunities in this exciting, growing industry.I would also recommend enrolling in a few business courses to provide information on the other side of the business.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I am using many of my skills that I worked for years to acquire, and I meet many interesting people and get to travel quite a bit.

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