From east coast to west, aquaculture lures another water lover “We’re rebuilding Duncan Island from scratch and transitioning from steel to circular cages. There aren’t any crew quarters right now but come May, work will begin. The site will be stocked by late summer,” Jason explained.
At one point in his life, Jason Saunders, site manager of both Bell Island and Duncan Island near Port Hardy, believed his future was headed towards post-secondary education to become a conservation officer. He took a detour, deciding to work first, and since 1997, aquaculture has been his career with nothing but positive results. For the native of Newfoundland’s Little Catalina, “word got around town that aquaculture in BC was worth a try for work so I left one coast for the other and came west to Port Hardy. I applied for site work with Omega (Salmon Group) and also for the processing plant on the same day. I had my choice and went to the sites because I wanted to be on the water,” said Jason.
In fact, two rugged commercial lobster boats on Canada’s east coast are currently being converted to be feed boats for service at Duncan Island. “Four meter waves aren’t unusual for the site and combined with the powerful currents, regular barges are simply unable to safely deliver feed,” said Jason, adding that it’s not unusual for conditions
Jason was introduced to aquaculture in the Quatsino region, where he worked on the grading crew and then transferred to the Port Hardy region’s grading crew. Soon after, he started at the Hardy Bay site, eventually settling at Bell Island in 2003. Two years later he started managing at Bell, after a year managing he moved into managing dual sites and been managing dual sites ever since. 4
Jason credits his reliable and proficient staff in ensuring his management duties are successfully shared between sites. He supervises 8-11 staff, depending on time of year. Along with his two kids, a 10 year old son and a 7 year old daughter, Jason revels in the outdoor life Vancouver Island provides, particularly camping. “Living on the North Island, we don’t have to go very far to find some very good spots,” adding that he loves showing his kids nature up close and personal. Both Jason’s kids are keen hockey players and also participate in judo. As for Jason, he loves how ‘free range’ Port Hardy is – there’s something for everyone in the wide open space. And for Jason, this means hunting, fishing, quadding, baseball, golf and hockey.
Marine Harvest Canada is proud to be a jersey sponsor for kids who play minor hockey in Port Hardy! MarineHarvestCanada.com
Jason Saunders, Site Manager By Gina Forsyth
Although Bell and Duncan Island are just 20 minutes by boat from Port Hardy and 10 minutes from each other in the Goletas Channel, they experience severe currents and sustained winds, often topping out at 40-50 knots. “You better love the water,” Jason said, because the winds are predominantly south-east in the winter and with the wide open water and big waves, intense conditions are never a surprise.
to be so unsafe that even venturing onto the circles isn’t possible.
Published on Mar 1, 2014
March 2014 edition of news and information about Marine Harvest Canada - a salmon aquaculture.