Ever since Tiffany MacWilliam was in grade nine,she wanted to be a marine biologist. And here she is,combining her interest in animals and the ocean as a Fish Health Technician.
She joined Marine Harvest Canada almost three years ago, spending a year on-site as a Farm Technician before moving into the Fish Health Department. A significant amount of her time is concerned with data collection and interpretation as part of the kudoa monitoring program which began in the spring of 2008.
Her high school goal has been realized – Tiffany holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of New Brunswick. Before making the move to the aquaculture industry, she worked in Alaska as a fish observer for six months. It was an interesting job but “not the career for me”, she said.
Away from work, Tiffany enjoys downhill skiing – “for the adrenal rush” – and reading, especially books by J.J.R. Tolkien.
“I have a book buying obsession,” she laughs.
Tiffany enjoys traveling and had the chance to see Buckingham Palace and other London sights this past summer during a two week visit to England and Scotland.
A trip to Italy with her mom, who remains in Tiffany’s home town of North Bay, Ontario, involves a future plan. It will be an opportunity for her mom to show her daughter where she spent her childhood as a former Army brat.
In the past three years Tiffany said she has met many great people at MHC and enjoyed working hard on a variety of projects which have included grading at Okisollo and stress sampling this summer in Campbell River North.
By Gina Forsyth
Cilka LaTrace and her mother, Mary Shaw, enjoying a cup of tea at Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach.
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