“I see wild fish stocks depleting if salmon farms are forced to reduce production. I see salmon farms as the future for an affordable food source for generations to come.”
By Samantha Bacchus McLeod
The newly unveiled Youth Council of the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) is all about greening forward for sustainable aquaculture to feed Canada and the world. This strong group of young individuals, who are already making waves in aquaculture, will act as advisors for concepts brought forth by salmon farmers and as seafood ambassadors for BC. Over the next few months, SeaWestNews in a special series of Q and A presentations, will explore how members of BCSFA’s Youth Council play a role in British Columbia’s Blue Revolution. This segment on BC’s Blue Revolution features 23 year old Kaitlin Guitard, Water Quality Technician, Mowi Canada West, and member of the BCSFA Youth Council.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
“I am a born and bred east coaster! Born in Bathurst New Brunswick and grew up in Moncton with my two loving parents and a brilliant younger sister.”
Did you move to BC right after high school?
“No, I graduated from Moncton High School when I was 17 and moved to Nova Scotia where I completed a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Animal Science at Dalhousie University, Agricultural Campus in 2018.”
Have you worked in the agriculture industry?
“Yes, I have worked in the agriculture sector while I was completing my BSc at Dal. I worked in the dairy and sheep industry separately from school, it’s something I am very proud of and it’s also the basis of my knowledge in sustainability. I refer to those sectors often when I’m discussing and explaining my job to people.”
Was it your plan to stay in the agricultural field?
“That was my plan but I moved to BC right after graduation and quickly made the switch from agriculture to aquaculture working on salmon farms…which I never thought would happen in a million years!”
So, why did you make the switch?
“There were many jobs available in the salmon farming industry so I applied really to expand my horizons and learn about a separate food production sector in Canada. And I can certainly say, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made because this is where I discovered how passionate I truly am about providing a sustainable food product to my country, and to the rest of the world.”
Do you feel like your horizon has expanded?
“Absolutely! The industry has opened my eyes to the value and benefit of working with the ocean and caring for mother nature to produce premium products…and I feel that has truly shaped who I am and who I want to be.”
What do you think are the most crucial issues facing salmon farming in BC?
“The most crucial issue I see with salmon farms in BC is this terrible misconception that our communities have about the industry…the salmon producing companies in BC have been given a bad rap and it seemed so unfair to me when I first discovered this!”
What would you say to clear up these misconceptions?
“I have never seen a food production system that puts as much effort into certification, environmental protection, and transparency for consumers than BC’s salmon farming companies. I am proud to be called a salmon farmer, proud to be a part of producing sustainable food for Canada and the rest of the world.”
How do you see the future of fish, both farmed and wild, in BC?
“I see wild fish stocks depleting if salmon farms are forced to reduce productions. I believe salmon farming is the future for an affordable food source for generations to come.”
Your favourite body of water?
“My two, because I have two, favourite bodies of water includes the oceans on the west coast and the east coast of Canada…in my spare time I enjoy paddle boarding, reading, and hanging around with any four legged animal.”
Your favourite seafood dish and why do you like it?
“Although I am a salmon farmer, and I cannot deny that it is a delicious product…wild and farmed…my favourite sea food dish is and will always be EAST COAST LOBSTER, fresh off the dock! 😊”