SeaChoice team member profiles
Across Canada over 25 individuals, working within the various SeaChoice member organizations, directly contribute their time and talents to the development and success of the program. In addition, SeaChoice employs various individuals on a contract basis, and values the participation of dedicated volunteers.
Your full-time SeaChoice staff members are:
After graduating from Environmental Studies at the University of British Columbia, I was thrilled to work with Project Seahorse at the UBC Fisheries Centre and then later with the David Suzuki Foundation Marine and Freshwater Conservation team. In my current position with SeaChoice, I help to manage and oversee the SeaChoice coalition as well as work to help communicate our work to new audiences.
Having grown up in the Prairies, I could not help but be completely overwhelmed in awe of our oceans and this connection drove my interest to learn more about solutions for keeping our oceans healthy. As a seafood lover, I enjoy learning about local sustainable fisheries. A personal favourite of mine is the BC Spot Prawn not only because spot prawns are so tasty, but because I am always fascinated to observe how well managed this fishery is when I go on my annual fishing trip with local fishers.
I completed a Masters degree in Marine Biology at the University of Alberta and the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre and since have worked at several NGOs in conservation and education roles. Spending time in the Philippines made me realize the way we depend and interact with our oceans drastically affects how we value and in turn protect them. Returning to Canada I have tried to create interaction and connection between Canadians and our local waters in hopes of fostering an attitude of conservation.
Since then I have worked as a fishmonger at a local fish counter which carries only responsibly-sourced, local seafood and have been impassioned by the growing seafood sustainability movement championed by members throughout the entire supply chain – fishermen, suppliers, retailers and consumers. I am now very excited to work at Seachoice as the Sustainable Seafood Analyst, because it allows me to work with all of these players to create more sustainable seafood options for Canadians.
My favourite of the SeaChoice “best choice” options is either BC Albacore tuna or local farmed mussels. Both of them are delicious and together give a great example of how drastically different local species can be sustainably harvested through proper management.
I have lived on the coast my entire life, either wading in tide pools along the South African coast or exploring the seashore in B.C. This passion for nature and fostering the responsible use of environmental resources has led me to a career focused on trying to ensure that future generations will have the same experiences I did. After completing my B.Sc. in Zoology I went on to obtain a M.Sc. in Fisheries Science at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre. My continuing passion for the environment has led me to work with a diverse range of organizations, including academic, government and NGO’s, that all have the same goal in mind.
My role with Seachoice enables me to use the skills I have gained to focus my energy on effecting change where it can make a big difference. Working with a team that takes the science behind fisheries and presents it to the public, businesses, and other stakeholders in such and accessible manner enables people at all levels to make better choices.
Having a father who is a chef has definitely instilled a love of food in me. One of my absolute favourites are spot prawns that are caught in traps off the B.C. coast. Not only are delicious and easy to prepare, but they are also caught in a way that tries to minimize the impact to other species and the environment.
Kurtis Hayne (SeaChoice)
Rob has a diverse background of NGO and corporate program coordination and project management, as well as varied research experience. He has a master’s degree in Natural Resource and Ecosystem Management from Stockholm University, and is a passionate advocate for the application of ecosystem-based management principles, resilience thinking applied to socio-ecological systems, and community-based adaptive management approaches to marine conservation.
My favorite sustainable seafood is farmed shellfish, and living in Atlantic Canada, the ability to source fresh and locally farmed mussels, scallops and oysters from small-scale sustainable farmers is a real treat.
My work with SeaChoice provides me with the opportunity to engage in collaborative work directly with members of the fishing and aquaculture industry. This is important as healthy oceans are rooted in resilient ecosystems as well as in healthy vibrant coastal communities where fishing and aquaculture practices (that minimize harmful impacts on the marine ecosystem) provide for long-term meaningful livelihoods.
I completed a B.Sc. in Biology and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria and a Master of Marine Management at Dalhousie University. Going from coast to coast gave me a whole new perspective on the diversity of coastal communities and how regionally unique our relationships to the ocean and seafood are. Amongst my time at school I have worked on seafood sustainability issues in a variety of capacities from academics, research and consulting, which has allowed me to forge relationships with diverse stakeholders throughout the seafood industry. I continue to be impassioned by my work in the field of seafood sustainability because of the complexity of the issues and the diversity of potential solutions.
I truly believe that the work that we do at SeaChoice makes a difference and I am delighted to be part of this dedicated team. By engaging with consumers, retailers, buyers, processors and fishermen, we provide an opportunity for everyone to make that connection between how their day-to-day decisions impact the ocean. Having an aware and educated seafood supply chain is a fundamental part to ensuring the sustainability of our seafood systems and marine and freshwater ecosystems.
Without a doubt, my favourite “Best Choice” seafood is farmed mussels and clams. As filter feeders they obtain all of their nutrients by filtering out the plankton from the surrounding water which means farmers do not need to provide commercial feeds. This greatly reduces the amount of (industrial and ecological) energy needed to farm them. They are also very nutritious (high source of protein, calcium and iron) and delicious!
I was fascinated by the complexities and mysteries of biology in high school and haven’t looked back. After working in Canada’s arctic for a few years as a biologist I returned to grad school to study Pacific salmon. I wanted to better understand how this amazing animal connects diverse ecosystems, from the open Pacific Ocean to small streams and lakes deep in the interior of the continent. I was also intrigued by fisheries management – the last great human hunt and the idea of managing a diverse, variable wild resource to support communities seemed like a real challenge. And it is. Since joining the David Suzuki Foundation in 2005 I’ve been working to improve the conservation of Pacific salmon in Canada and support more sustainable fisheries that benefit our local communities.
It’s hard to pick just one favourite green-listed seafood, but my list of faves would definitely include oysters. A good fresh oyster is like getting a delicious blast of the Pacific Ocean. I don’t think any other seafood provides as much depth of flavour.
By supporting SeaChoice’s strategic planning and providing advice on recommendations for wild Pacific Salmon I know that I’m helping protect important fish species and the places where they live.
As long as I can remember I have always loved the animals and ecosystems associated with water. It was my experience as a fisheries observer on a small gillnet fleet in the Bay of Fundy in the early 1990s that confirmed my suspicions that there was something terribly wrong with how we went about harvesting from the oceans. This lead to a doctoral degree and to the type of work I presently do.
My favourite green-listed seafood is the Pacific sardine. The fishery has little bycatch, conservative catch quotas, and from a budgetary point of view, is inexpensive. Other characteristics included being healthy for you and a low carbon footprint.
My work at SeaChoice as the science coordinator ensures that the appropriate science is being used in our assessments of various fisheries. By informing consumers and retail partners of sustainable seafood preferences we hope to put an end to unsustainable fishing practices.
Growing up in Cape Breton and spending a lot of time on the water and in the ocean has made me appreciate the pure luxury of being able to eat food that is produced from the natural ecosystem. I have to say that a fresh oyster, plucked from the sediments of the Bras D’or Lakes, cannot be beat for taste and experience.
Engaging in SeaChoice has enabled me to make the important link between the economy and the environment when it comes to marine conservation. I am very concerned about the plight of coastal communities as fisheries are industrialized and fish populations decline. Much of the sustainable seafood movement is asking for sustainable options to meet consumer demand, yet unfortunately the benefits of this demand are rarely reaped by the fishermen who are fishing sustainably in the first place.
I’m committed to working to change this through policy change and a market shift to ocean-friendly seafood. My background of growing up in rural Nova Scotia, completing a PhD. in marine biology and having worked on national and international marine policy over the past several years enables me to see the benefits that are possible from an engaged consumer and retail base, particularly when it comes to making real change on the water.