Cilka LaTrace, Lab Manager in Campbell River, is comfortable in the spacious lab surrounded by the multitude of equipment that comes with her job of ensuring people have what they need to do their jobs as well as hers, however, she doesn’t lose sight of the fact that people are the priority.
Her aquaculture career began in 1990 at Moore-Clark (which eventually morphed into Marine Harvest Canada) as a Fish Health Tech following her graduation from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, complimented by six months of intensive fish health courses at Malaspina College.
Key components of Cilka’s responsibilities include keeping company fish at the peak of health from a diagnostic point of view. Year round saltwater and fresh water screening using the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) ensuring equipment such as microscopes are properly maintained, updating data following site visits by fi eld staff, and the mighty fall brood stock screening program – these parts add up to a top-notch fish health system. Internal testing is complimented by the testing of outside labs as needed.
Cilka has a passion for reading, stamp collecting and plants. If she didn’t work in aquaculture, she’d love to work in a garden centre, doing plant upkeep and customer service. “Just don’t ask me to run a till”, she said with a laugh. Life highlights so far include a visit to the Chicago aquarium in 2007 with husband Mark. Outside the lab, Cilka is more than likely to be found romping with dog Mika or sewing, often for friends.
By Gina Forsyth