Chef Cori Wheeler is a woman in aquaculture

Cory Wheeler and her partner Pierre Conroy are Red Seal chefs, and Marine Harvest staff members. They both manage the charity BBQ. Chef Cori Wheeler said the experiences she gained, through working with the community, and through catering salmon farmers’ events are invaluable.

Marine Harvest Canada’s specially designed salmon barbeque was built in 2010 to support local fundraising initiatives. Since 2011, the Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) salmon barbeque has cooked up $150,000 of support for local charities on Vancouver Island. The recipients for 2018 included:

  • Campbell River Killer Whales Swim Club
  • Mt Washington Ski Club
  • Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) Mid Vancouver Island Chapter
  • The John Howard Society of North Island (homeless outreach)
  • Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs Society
  • Campbell River Hospice Society
  • BC Professional Firefighters – Burn Fund
  • Port Hardy Volunteer Firefighter Association
  • Comox Bay Sailing Club
  • OrcaFest
  • CR Bike Park Society
  • Campbell River Volunteer Society

As a chef, Cori is thrilled to work with healthy, local, fresh-farm products, which includes salmon. Cori was kind enough to take a pause during her BBQ duties to answer a few questions for us.

Do you think there is a need for farmed salmon?

There’s need for wild and farmed in the market, and I find that this product is especially lovely to work with, it holds well, it is nice and moist, it’s versatile. I have described to people that we have done everything to farm-raised salmon, every preparation that can be done with it and it always holds up really well. It is less expensive compared to wild salmon and I feel like we are actually saving wild salmon by cooking farm-raised salmon.

So, it is safe to say that for every pound of farm-raised salmon you dish up on the charity BBQ trail, that’s that many pounds less being mined from the ocean. We know farm raised salmon is fresh and easy to work with, but does it adapt well to world cuisines?

We have done many dishes, from Japanese to Scandinavian preparations, though I have not done too much Indian foods with farm-raised salmon yet. That’s not my forte, yet. I have tasted salmon dishes from many chefs creating many cuisines from different ethnicities, and I have loved all of it.

Can you name one cuisine, in your opinion, where farmed salmon is a necessary product?

Sushi restaurants…they rely on farmed salmon, much more than our society realizes.

Is there a place for women in the aquaculture industry?

The representation for women at Marine Harvest is very strong, not only Marine Harvest but in this industry on the whole, from every side of it and in management. Of course, on the cooking side too. Women are very strong in this industry and there’s a lot of encouragement for us within the industry also.

Are there real opportunities for women to move up the ladder at Marine Harvest Canada?

I think there’s a lot of opportunity for both sexes in this industry. I am proud to say though that I am surrounded by very strong women in this industry. Whether it is in finance, warehousing, processing, on the farms, in the sciences you will find a good ratio of women, you will get great opportunities, and fair wages and benefits, and more importantly, lots of opportunities to grow within the company.

Why do you think women are a good fit for raising fish, for aquaculture?

Women are caregivers, meticulous, detail-oriented, well a lot of us are I think, we had to be, we always had to take care of business.

Aquaculture in British Columbia

As consumers, we can do our part for sustainability, we should be aware of what is happening in the ocean and how that affects our everyday life. With sciences already proven, and new research being conducted, it is obvious that everything is pointing to the need for aquaculture. Aquaculture is an industry that is healthy for the people, kind to the environment, and contributes greatly to our economy. Moreover, this industry is consistently innovating to new and improved best practices. 

Corporations, throughout history, have always carefully constructed new narratives to suit their changing needs. Big businesses have the power to create big changes, like an inclusive and equal work force, for example.

Equality and diversity starts from within, and Marine Harvest Canada strives to do just that by taking action and implementing their beliefs into their business. It’s a new world and it’s good to see this fairly new industry going swimmingly in the right direction.

Although, based on my research, the aquaculture industry on the whole has been swimming upstream for decades by implementing these innovative and radical standards –equality for all genders.


Related Links:

Woman In Aquaculture

Salmon farming has a key role to play in protecting wild fish

Credible science vs incredible claims about aquaculture