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.
After completing a degree in Biology at the University of Victoria, I had the amazing opportunity to move to the Westfjords of Iceland to undertake a Master’s Degree in Coastal and Marine Management. This program introduced me to the unique management plans of Icelandic fisheries, and gave me the opportunity to work with the Ocean Wise program to complete my thesis, evaluating the program and the factors that encourage chefs in Vancouver to choose sustainable seafood.
Growing up on Vancouver Island, I have always loved the ocean and taken every opportunity I could to get out on the water and learn about sustainable fisheries. Albacore tuna, my favourite sustainable fish, is a fishery that I was able to experience first hand as a deckhand aboard a commercial fishing boat. Hauling each fish individually from troll lines makes you really appreciate your meals!
Amanda Adams (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society)Amanda is an environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast who grew up on the open prairies but has since migrated west to be closer to the coastal waters of B.C. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with a B.Sc. in biology and a B.A. in anthropology she recognizes and works to communicate the complexity with which environmental, economic, and social issues are intertwined.
An avid nature enthusiast, she draws her energy and inspiration from reconnecting with nature, getting out to explore the wilderness whenever she can which has lead her to live and work on the coast. Over 5 years experience working in the field of wildlife and conservation ecology has allowed Amanda to live in and experience a vast array of environments from the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest to Grasslands National Park, often working with and alongside members of the local communities. Seeing a need to reconnect people with our environment she has been working within the environmental non-profit sector focused on drawing the connections between nature and our culture, economy and health while raising awareness of the importance of our ocean ecosystems as the Marine Conservation Campaign Assistant at CPAWS-BC.
Amanda is thrilled to be working as a member of SeaChoice for CPAWS. Our ocean ecosystems are a precious resource and sustainable seafood is instrumental in ensuring the health of our oceans while supporting good fishing and aquaculture practices.
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.
Growing up in Australia, I was led to the study of Zoology and later Palaeontology by a youth spent bushwalking and spearfishing. Palaeontologists have a great passion for the processes that shaped the living world, and quickly see the similarity of the present moment to past episodes of biological change accompanied by extinction. It is no great step to realize conservation is our best option for maintaining a healthy ecology, and the oceans are no exception.
I love shellfish, and also sardines for their unique flavours and textures, and as a matter of principle, eating further down the food chain. But my most frequent selection shifted not long ago when a DNA study of fish in a New York market revealed an outrageous proportion of substitution of one species for another – and I was impressed that Tilapia was being sold as tuna. Not at the act of deception, but that it was a deception that worked! I started to favour Tilapia. Simple recipes can help it taste like a variety of fish. Here then is my seafood strategy; a freshwater, vegetarian farmed fish doing no harm to the oceans and pleasing to the palate. We could go a long way toward healthy oceans by shifting our fish consumption toward specialized Tilapia varieties.
The SeaChoice program raises attention to options like this, and is successfully directing the line of supply of seafood along more sustainable pathways. We rely on the ocean for much more than fish, and we need a very rapid change in attitude toward our treatment of it. SeaChoice is a key player in this shift of perception, and I am very pleased to play a small role in that critical work.