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2004 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Ovila Daigle

Ovila Daigle grew up in Pointe-Sapin a small coastal community in New Brunswick. He has a degree in Forestry from UNB where he learned his trade of land surveyor. He started his career in Newcastle N.-B. in 1959 working with the province of NB, surveying forest lots to mark their boundaries and assess wood production. He went on to work with what was then the minister of Environment and Fisheries at the Ellerslie Fisheries Research Station in PEI. Ovila’s skills at surveying were extensively used to develop the shellfish leasing program and policy of the day.
Mr. Daigle and his team were responsible to define and survey the new leases, assess their potential, produce the maps and maintain a database for the hundreds of sites around the Maritime Provinces. Before the days of GPS and GIS, this type of work required lugging heavy surveying equipment through the woods, long hours of triangulation on water followed by animated discussions on wharves about oyster culture. Anyone who knows Ovila is bound to share is enthusiasm for shellfish culture and to appreciate his kind nature.

Part of his work at the Ellerslie station was to carry out extension programs to promote oyster culture. Because each new site had to be individually surveyed, Mr. Daigle developed an intimate knowledge of each bay. To this day, people still call him to find information about specific sites.
Following the onset of the Malpeque disease in the 50’ and 60’s, Mr. Daigle was called upon to re-stock all bays in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI with seeds resistant to the disease. Again, Ovila’s intimate knowledge of each bay proved valuable in ensuring the success of this program. Most oysters cultivated or harvested today (except in Bras d’Or Lake) in the Maritime Provinces are direct descendant of this seed stock. In total, 11, 000 barrels of 3-inch oysters and 272 barrels of 1-inch oysters were re-introduced in our waters by Mr. Daigle and his team between 1960 and 1970.
Following this, Mr. Daigle became manager of the Shellfish Leasing Program for Fisheries and Oceans where he was instrumental in setting up the burgeoning mussel aquaculture industry, especially in P.E.I. He retired from DFO in 1992.
Mr. Daigle is still very active in the family shellfish aquaculture enterprise, Aquaculture acadienne Ltée owned and operated by his son Maurice Daigle since 1982.
The shellfish aquaculture industry of the three Maritime Provinces is indebted to Mr. Daigle for this lifetime contribution.


Ovila Daigle grandit à Pointe-Sapin, une petite collectivité côtière du Nouveau-Brunswick. Il détient un diplôme en foresterie de l’Université du Nouveau-Brunswick, où il a appris son métier d’arpenteur. Il débute sa carrière en 1959 à Newcastle, au N.-B., où il travaille pour la province à l’arpentage des terres boisées afin d’en définir les limites et d’évaluer leur production de bois. Il travaille par la suite pour le ministre de l’Environnement et des Pêches d’alors à la Ellerslie Fisheries Research Station, à l’Î.-P.-É. Ovila y met grandement à contribution ses compétences en arpentage afin de mettre sur pied le programme de baux de secteurs coquilliers et la politique connexe.
M. Daigle et son équipe ont alors la responsabilité de définir et d’arpenter les nouvelles concessions, d’évaluer leur potentiel, de concevoir des cartes et de mettre à jour une base de données portant sur des centaines de sites dans les provinces des Maritimes. Étant donné que les GPS et GIS n’ont pas encore fait leur apparition, ce type de travail nécessite de transporter du matériel d’arpentage très lourd dans les bois, d’effectuer de la triangulation durant de longues heures sur l’eau et de tenir par la suite de vives discussions au sujet de l’ostréiculture sur les quais. Tous ceux qui connaissent Ovila sont tenus de partager son enthousiasme pour la conchyliculture et d’apprécier son amabilité.

Une partie du travail qu’il effectue à la Ellerslie Fisheries Research Station consiste à mettre en œuvre des programmes d’appoint sur l’ostréiculture. Étant donné que chaque nouveau site doit être arpenté individuellement, M. Daigle apprend à connaître en détail chaque baie. Des gens qui cherchent de l’information sur des sites particuliers l’appellent encore aujourd’hui pour le consulter.
Après l’apparition de la maladie de Malpèque dans les années 50 et 60, on fait appel à M. Daigle pour qu’il rétablisse les stocks dans toutes les baies du Nouveau-Brunswick, de la Nouvelle-Écosse et de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard à l’aide de stocks reproducteurs immunisés contre cette maladie. La connaissance approfondie qu’a Ovila de chaque baie s’avère d’une grande utilité pour faire de ce programme une réussite. La plupart des huîtres cultivées ou pêchées aujourd’hui dans les provinces des Maritimes (sauf dans le lac Bras d’Or) descendent directement de ces stocks reproducteurs. En tout, M. Daigle remet à l’eau le contenu de 11 000 barils d’huîtres de trois pouces et de 272 barils d’huîtres d’un pouce entre 1960 et 1970.
Par la suite, M. Daigle devient gestionnaire du Programme de baux de secteurs coquilliers à Pêches et Océans Canada, où il joue un rôle de premier plan dans l’éclosion de l’industrie florissante de la mytiliculture, surtout à l’Î.-P.-É. Il prend sa retraite du MPO en 1992.
M. Daigle demeure très actif au sein de l’entreprise conchylicole familiale, Aquaculture acadienne Ltée, que son fils Maurice Daigle possède et exploite depuis 1982.
L’industrie conchylicole des trois provinces Maritimes est reconnaissante à M. Daigle pour son énorme contribution dans le domaine.

2003 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Dr. William Pennel

Dr. William (Bill) Pennell is a faculty advisor and instructor in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Malaspina University-College (MUC) in Nanaimo, BC. Bill received his Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from McGill University in 1973 and has been with MUC since 1980.
Bill is a member of several professional associations and committees including AAC, WAS, AAAS, Science Council of BC, AquaNet Education Committee (2000-2002), ACRDP Pacific Review Committee, BC IPOST-OSAP Advisory Committee and several BC industry association committees with both BCSFA and BCSGA. He is a former President and board member of the AAC and he has organised and assisted with many AAC meetings.

Bill’s research interest’s are varied and include shellfish production and husbandry, finfish culture, salmonid culture and copepods. He has received funding from many sources including Science Council of BC, CIDA, MUC research funds, BCMAFF, BC Ministry or Education, SSHRC and AquaNet. He has over thirty publications, many reflecting the applied nature of his research endeavours.
Bill is first and foremost an educator. He was instrumental in the development of the aquaculture programs at MUC and works continuously with the BC aquaculture industry to ensure the program graduates are trained appropriately to meet the needs of the industry. The technical diploma, the BSc and the international programs offer courses on the undergraduate level and graduate level in conjunction with UBC, OSU and several other international universities. As well, MUC delivers many industry-focussed workshops and Bill has been very proactive in the dissemination of aquaculture information and knowledge to the finfish, salmonid and shellfish industry in BC and internationally.
Recently, Bill was the driving force behind the initiation, development and successful funding of a new Centre for Shellfish Research at MUC, where he received a sizable grant from CFI. The Centre will the focus of research, education and technology transfer for the BC shellfish industry and the Centre will work closely with industry, students, the BC Shellfish Growers Association and DFO researchers, something Bill has promoted all through his career in aquaculture.
In summary, Bill is a long-time shellfish aquaculturist at Malaspina University College. He is a former President and board member of the AAC and has organised and assisted many AAC meetings. He is a shellfish and finfish researcher who has worked closely with the BC shellfish and salmonid growers. And he is an educator who was key in the development of the aquaculture program at Malaspina and the driving force behind the development of the Centre for Shellfish Research at Malaspina.