By Gina Forsyth
As the only manager Tsulton Hatchery has known in its 11 years, Dale Gowan is deservedly proud of the accomplishments he and his staff continue to enjoy. “In 2012 we spawned 45 million eyed eggs,” he says. The hatchery is located south of Port McNeill, almost 200 km north of Campbell River, and employs up to 8 people.
He likes the challenge of continual improvement and enjoys coordinating staff and paying close attention to the early stages of the fish life cycle through sorting and checking the eggs.
Dale was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick and completed high school in nearby St. George. After grade 12, Dale studied theology for three years at Bible College in Fredericton and following that, spent four years as an Assistant Pastor in St. Catherines, Ontario.
“After Ontario, I missed the water. I’m a son of a lobster and herring fisherman,” says Dale. He returned to St. George and laughs, “It was Dean Guest (Marine Harvest’s Freshwater Production Manager) who hired me in early 1988”. His career began at Stolt Sea Farm as a night watchman and then segued into maintenance. Dale ultimately became assistant manager at Digdeguash (pronounced ‘diggitywash’) Hatchery in New Brunswick. He also spent time in the United States, managing a New Hampshire hatchery facility.
An internal job posting at Stolt Sea Farm brought Dale and his wife Janice to BC in 2002. “I like working with brood and spawning, and that was part of what we did. And, I wanted to see BC for myself,” he explains.
He and his wife Janice, who works at Marine Harvest’s Port Hardy Processing Plant, live on-site at the hatchery. They have been married for 30 years after meeting at Bible College, and have three kids together.
Away from work, Dale adores spending time with his grandchildren, some of whom live in Port McNeill. “We do everything and anything, from going to the beach to flying kites and remote control airplanes.” He also makes time for outdoor photography, adding that “we’ve seen elk, deer, and a black bear within 100 feet of each other.”