Aquaculture Ambassador: Kenny Leslie

“My education has drawn me to Aquaculture. A degree in environmental sustainability could be applied in so many ways to so many different industries,” Kenny Leslie, Council of Emerging Leaders in Aquaculture.

By Samantha McLeod

Aquaculture in Canada today generates $5.16 billion in economic activity and employs over 25,000 people. As one of the fastest growing food sectors in the world, the industry in Canada has a younger-than-average domestic workforce with two-thirds of all employees under the age of 35. Our new series, Aquaculture Ambassador, is about 14 Canadians who have come together to showcase the growing presence of young people in the sustainable future of farming the oceans. In this segment, we talk to Kenny Leslie, MOWI Canada, First Feed/Fry Supervisor.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Kenny and I have a background in Environmental Sustainability. I work for MOWI Canada in their freshwater department as First Feed/Fry Supervisor. I live in Campbell River, BC, with my wonderful family.

What drew you to aquaculture?

My education has drawn me to Aquaculture. A degree in environmental sustainability could be applied in so many ways to so many different industries.

I have learned through my education all about Aquaculture and have formed my opinions from independent research. In Canada, aquaculture faces so much misinformation presented as facts, all aimed to derail this sustainable industry and stop the progression that has been made up until now.

What’s your average day in aquaculture like?

Without sounding too cliché, no two days are the same. But it is my team and I’s job to raise our *Alevin up to fry. We also provide these fish their first feed which is quite an intricate task.

On a daily basis, we feed the fish to ensure they grow up big and strong, all the while not wasting feed. We also ensure that the water conditions are optimum for growth.

How do you plan to change the current narrative about aquaculture, in particular salmon farming in Canada, from conflict to conversations about sustainability?

This is a tough one to get to the root of. Changing the direction of these conversations requires people to actually want to engage past their predisposed notions and ideas, ideas that all we do is detrimental.

It is our councils hope that we can start to change the perception that the public has of aquaculture in Canada. This is no easy task so we are looking at a variety of options that we may be able to work with in engaging the public further.

What is the single biggest project you are working on now?

As I said earlier, we are looking at a breadth of projects. Ranging from how we potentially interact with children early, or engage with the general public. We are still at the very early stages and are trying to figure out where we need to go to progress this conversation further.

Over the course of the coming weeks and months we will get a better feel and will be able to round out our ideas and hopefully we can start to have our voice better heard and represented.

*Juvenile fish go through various stages between birth and adulthood. They start as eggs which hatch into larvae. The larvae are not able to feed themselves, and carry a yolk-sac which provides their nutrition. Before the yolk-sac completely disappears, the tiny fish must become capable of feeding themselves.


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