“What most people don’t realize is that our industry is built with employees who have nothing but love, appreciation, and passion for our oceans and wild ecosystems.”
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 Kirstyn Nygren, Environmental Specialist, Grieg Seafood BC, and member of the BCSFA Youth Council.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised on Vancouver Island. I have always grown up around the ocean and I love it, that is probably why I have wanted to be a marine biologist since I was 4 years old.
Have you achieved your goal?
I have a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography from the University of Victoria and I am proud to say that I have achieved that dream!
Were you able to put your degree to good use?
Absolutely! I work for Grieg Seafood BC as an Environmental Specialist. My job is to monitor the water quality and support our sites in anything environmental-related.
How did you make the transition from marine biology to aquaculture?
I was inspired to join the aquaculture industry because of my love and passion for the ocean and our coast…I wanted to utilize my skills and training to improve the industry as I feel that it is a key component of food production for the future.
Tell us about a typical day at work.
During my days at work you can find me taking samples, analysing the nutrients and plankton in the water around Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, or on the sea sites assisting in environmentally-related projects.
In your opinion, what are the most crucial issues facing salmon farming in BC?
I think one of the most crucial issues facing salmon farming is the sharing of mis-information which leads to lack of public support. What most people don’t realize is that our industry is built with employees who have nothing but love, appreciation, and passion for our oceans and wild ecosystems.
How do you see the future of fish, both farmed and wild, in BC?
The way I see the future of fish is that if we continue to fish our wild stocks to the extent that we are, then we will be severely depleting and harming these stocks. I think that because of the expanding global population and the increased demand for healthy proteins that is coming with it, we need to be utilizing resources other than overfishing wild stocks.
What do you think is the solution to alleviate overfishing?
I think that aquaculture is the solution to the growing demand for fish protein and I can only see the aquaculture industry expanding as the global population does.
You favourite body of water?
My favourite body of water is the Pacific Ocean because it feels like home to me. I have spent my whole life here enjoying and learning to appreciate the wonders that come with such a vast body of water.
What are your favourite things to do?
In my spare time I enjoy hiking and fishing, as well as baking and reading a good book.
And finally, what is your all-time seafood dish?
My favourite seafood dish is coconut prawns with sweet chilli sauce, I love it!