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2014 Student Presentation Award Recipients

Student Presentation Awards are given to the best student poster and oral presentation at the annual meeting.

Paul van Dam-Bates – University of Victoria – Best Oral Presentation
Investigating movement and containment of the California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) in relation to organically enriched areas beneath aquaculture sites for use in multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA)

Jamie Lim – Simon Fraser Unviersity – Best Poster Presentation

Research Award Recipient 2014: Dr. Fred Page

Dr. Page was born in Saint John New Brunswick and attended Saint John High School.  From an early age he has been interested in the multi-disciplinary aspects of marine biology and oceanography, especially in physical-biological interactions and the applications and implications to human activities.  He received a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Marine Biology from the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, a Masters of Science in Biology from the University of New Brunswick and a Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography from Dalhousie University.  Dr. Page’s initial foray into aquaculture research included some limited experimentation with the outgrowing of Bay Scallops and the development of software for tracking and predicting feed utilization and growth of trout reared in a land based system.  As a Fisheries and Oceans Canada research scientist he has worked closely with industry representatives, government policy makers and regulators as well as university colleagues and has developed and led a research team whose aquaculture research has focused on relating physical and chemical aspects of the marine environment to applied aspects of aquaculture production and regulation.  His work has emphasized the acquisition of in situ measurements of temperatures, salinities and dissolved oxygen, sediment sulphide, water currents, waves, the transport and dilution of suspended substances and the development of numerical analyses and predictive models.  He has conducted research activity related to applied issues such as the carrying capacity of mussel and finfish culture, oxygen depletion by salmon farms, spread of ISA and the development of aquaculture bay management areas, transport and deposition of organics released from finfish farms, spatial and temporal variation in sediment sulphide, design of aquaculture environmental impact monitoring programs, and the transport and dispersal of sea lice therapeutants released from net pens and well boats.  He has been the Director of the DFO’s Center of Expertise on Integrated Aquaculture Science, an official member of Canadian aquaculture science delegations to Spain and Chile, a member of a Canadian delegation to a Pacific Rim aquaculture conference, a contributor to several DFO advisory documents relating to aquaculture, a member of various aquaculture regulatory support committees, an adjunct professor at several universities, a recipient of distinction awards for contributions to sea lice integrated pest management research and team work, partnership and cooperation, a member of the United Nations team on the status of the world’s oceans, and an invited scientific reviewer of the New Zealand NIWA aquaculture environmental interactions program.  In the future Dr. Page hopes to continue researching along these lines with an emphasis on developing better predictive models and decision support tools of use to aquaculture regulation and development.

2013 Student Presentation Award Recipients

Ian Ryerse – Unviersity of Guelph – Best Oral Presentation
Effects of deoxynivalenol contaminated feed on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) experimentally infected with Flavobacterium psychrophilum.



Stephanie Dallaire-Dufresne – Université Laval – Best Poster Presentation
Ati2: An Aeromonas salmonicida type three secretion system effector toxic for the host cell.

Research Award Recipient 2013: Dr. Marcel Fréchette

Marcel Fréchette est chercheur émérite à l’Institut Maurice-Lamontagne. Il a fait ses études à l’Université Laval, y effectuant une maîtrise sur l’effet de la variabilité du régime lumineux sur la production primaire du phytoplancton, puis en complétant un doctorat sur le flux d’énergie dans les bancs de moules sauvages. Il a été à l’emploi du MPO de 1984 jusqu’à tout récemment. Dans le domaine aquicole, ses travaux ont porté sur la validation et l’application de la relation biomasse-densité, en particulier de l’autoréduction (« self-thinning »). Ainsi, il s’est intéressé à la détection des effets dépendants de la densité dans les systèmes de préélevage de naissain de bivalves, aux mécanismes de compétition et aux stratégies d’estimation de la densité optimale d’élevage. Il a été impliqué de près dans l’étude de la dynamique de production, de la rentabilité et de la modélisation d’enjeux écosystémiques des collecteurs autogérés, une méthode d’élevage de la moule à temps partiel développée par l’industrie. Plus récemment, il a travaillé sur la modélisation de l’alimentation des moules basée sur des facteurs régulateurs internes. Il s’est également intéressé à la dissymétrie fluctuante comme indicateur du potentiel des spécimens, à la dynamique de production du byssus par les moules et à l’efficacité des dragues à pétoncle.
Marcel Fréchette is currently Emeritus Scientist at the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute. He studied at Université Laval. He did his Master’s thesis on the effect of the temporal variability of the light field on phytoplankton primary production. His Ph.D. work was on energy flow in wild mussel beds. He was hired as a scientist by DFO in 1984 and retired recently. Part of his aquaculture research focussed on the relationship between body size and population density, with an emphasis on testing and applying self-thinning theory in various situations of interest to the industry. This allowed detecting density-dependent effects in spat collector bags, and studying competition mechanisms and optimal stocking density in bivalves. He was involved in studies of production dynamics, of profitability, and of modelling of ecosystemic issues of mussel culture with autocollectors, a technique which allows part-time mussel culture which was developed by the industry.
Recently he focussed on modeling feeding dynamics of mussels based on internal state regulation. He also did some work on fluctuating asymmetry as a method for assessing individual potential performance, on byssus production dynamics of mussels and on scallop dredge efficiency.

2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Dr. Chris Frantsi

Dr. Chris Frantsi has an extensive background in fisheries and aquaculture in both the public and private sectors.
He spent his early years in Ontario and eventually moved with his family to Nova Scotia. He completed his BSc at Acadia University with a focus on microbiology. He then attended the University of Guelph, Department of Microbiology where he completed a Masters with his research on mammalian virology. Following this he did his PhD at Guelph in the Ontario Veterinary College Department of Microbiology and Immunology with his thesis on the epidemiology of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis virus.
He began his career as a student microbiologist with the Canada federal Fisheries Inspection Branch in Halifax and following completion of his Masters, he taught food microbiology for a semester at the University of Guelph.
From 1972 to 1975, working for DFO and stationed at Mactaquac Fish Hatchery near Fredericton, he was responsible for fish health in Atlantic Canada’s then thirteen federal salmonid hatcheries. In 1975 he moved to St. Andrews and joined the Huntsman Marine Laboratory and the Atlantic Salmon Federation to assist in building and operating the North American Salmon Research Centre. In 1977 Dr. Frantsi moved to Ottawa for a year and assisted with the Introduction of Canada’s Fish Health Protection Regulations.
From 1978 to 1985 he worked with the Huntsman and the New Brunswick Community College in establishing and teaching Canada’s first Aquaculture Technician Training Program. During this period he also conducted research for government and private clients in both shellfish and finfish.
In 1985 Dr. Frantsi joined Connors Bros. Limited, later to become Heritage Salmon Limited, establishing the Aquaculture Division where he worked in senior management until 2004. He currently pursues a number of private interests under Chris Frantsi & Associates.
Dr. Frantsi has authored many scientific and technical papers on virology, microbiology and aquaculture, and has served as a member on various boards and as adjunct professor at a number of universities in both Canada and the USA. He is a Certified Fisheries Scientist with the American Fisheries Society and in 2000 was named “Aquaculturist of the Millennium”, a Canadian Farm Credit Corporation Award given by the Atlantic Aquaculture Exposition.
Dr. Frantsi currently serves on the Board of the Fundy Community Foundation, dedicated to serve community needs in Charlotte County New Brunswick and is Chair of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Atlantic Innovation Fund Advisory Board.
Chris enjoys the good fortune of continuing to reside in St. Andrews and these days is usually found pursuing long neglected interests such as golfing, gardening, ATVing, hunting and fishing.

2012 Student Presentation Award Recipients

Student Presentation Awards are given to the best student poster and oral presentation at the annual meeting.

  • Jessica Willis – University of Prince Edward Island – Best Oral Presentation
  • Okechukwu Igboeli – University of Prince Edward Island – Best Oral Presentation
  • Sarah McConnachie – University of Prince Edward Island – Best Poster Presentation

Research Award Recipient 2011: Debbie Martin-Robichaud

Debbie Martin-Robichaud, the recipient of the AC 2011 Research Award of Excellence, has been engaged in aquaculture research at the DFO St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS) since the late 1980s. Debbie gained significant experience working as a technician before moving up the ranks to research scientist. She was on the AAC Board of Directors for many years and President of the Association in 2009. Her interest and current focus on sex control in fish started with her research on direct hormonal feminization of lumpfish for her MSc at the University of New Brunswick. Currently she leads the Marine Fish Reproductive Physiology and Broodstock program at SABS. Debbie has been actively involved in research to development alternate species for aquaculture such as Atlantic halibut, haddock and Atlantic cod. Her research has addressed issues pertaining to environmental physiology related to culture conditions, reproductive biology, ultrasonography, molecular genetics and sex control. The most fulfilling aspects of her job involve her close collaborations with industry, supervising graduate students and participating in research collaborations with outstanding colleagues and friends.

Debbie Martin-Robichaud, récipiendaire du prix d’excellence en recherche du AC 2011, a été engagé dans la recherche en aquaculture au MPO, à la Station Biologique à St Andrews (SBSA) depuis les années 80. Debbie a gagné de l’expérience significative comme une technicienne avant de monter les rangs pour devenir une chercheuse scientifique. Debbie était sur le conseil d’administration d’AAC pour plusieurs années et présidente de l’association en 2009. Son intérêt axer sur le contrôle des sexes chez les poissons a commencé avec sa recherche sur la féminisation hormonale directe de la poule de mer pour sa MSc à l’Université de Nouveau Brunswick. Actuellement elle mène le programme de physiologie de la reproduction de poisson marin et stock de géniteurs à la SBSA. Debbie a été activement impliqué dans la recherche pour le développement d’espèce alterne pour l’aquaculture comme le flétan commun, l’aiglefin et la morue. Sa recherche a adressé des problèmes qui rapportent à la physiologie écologique liée aux conditions de culture, la biologie reproductrice, ultrasonography, la génétique moléculaires et le contrôle des sexes. Les aspects les plus satisfaisant de son travail impliquent ses proches collaborations avec l’industrie, surveillant des étudiants diplômés et sa participation dans des recherches concertées avec des collègues remarquables et amis.

2010 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Dr. Al Castledine

Dr. Al Castledine retired in the spring of 2010 from his position as Director of Aquaculture Policy, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. A degree in English and a desire to experience some of the world took him to Tanzania, East Africa with CUSO for several years in the early 1970’s teaching English and Biology in a boys’ secondary school. It was there that the idea came up to come back to Canada to pursue a passion for fish with the hope of some day returning to Tanzania to work on artisanal aquaculture. This was a simple, perhaps naïve, idea that has taken a number of twists over the years given the complexity of marriage, children and work. After Tanzania, a couple of years of undergraduate courses lead into a Master’s Program in fish nutrition at the University of Guelph followed by a year’s research on Asian carps in Malaysia compliments of a CIDA scholarship. Then off to the University of Victoria for a PhD in biochemistry focusing on fat metabolism in rainbow trout supported in part by NRC. A year in Ottawa (1981-1982) working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans producing a report on the fish feed industry, amongst other duties, followed. Then off to Ontario from 1982 until 1987as an aquaculture extension biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1987 the opportunity to return to the west coast came up initially as aquaculture production specialist with the British Columbia government succeeded by various roles including both management and Director positions in seafood and aquaculture development in marine and fresh waters. In 2001, Al worked with DFO in Ottawa in an interchange agreement – it was an exciting time – the federal aquaculture policy framework was being developed, the Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development was in full swing and many other new initiatives were being discussed and implemented.

Indeed, the ten years between 1999 and 2009 saw a lot of engagement by the Provinces with the federal government on aquaculture through the Canadian Council of Aquaculture Ministers Aquaculture Task Group (Al co-chaired the Task Group for a number of years). This Task Group provided an opportunity for the Provinces to shape and to support a number of key federal initiatives such as the National Aquatic Animal Health Program, the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program, and the significant resources currently deployed within the Department to support industry Market Access Program among others.
Several years ago, as Director of Aquaculture Policy in British Columbia, Al took the initial first steps toward aquaculture development focused on communities and area and ecosystem based approaches to management. Two conventional industry development positions were re-profiled to focus on social licence issues. These actions are recognition that social licence and not technology (at the moment) is the most important factor hindering further growth of aquaculture in British Columbia (and probably lots of other places).
Al was, for many years a member of the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists, taking the steps to qualify to become a member because of the logical connections between aquaculture and agriculture (the irony of the recent British Columbia court decision declaring aquaculture to be a fishery, notwithstanding). He may have been the first Professional Agrologist in Canada to come from an aquaculture background and was recognized as Agrologist of the year for Victoria and the Islands Branch in 2000.
Al has been a member of AAC for many years and served on the Board in several capacities and as president in 1994-1995.
He would like to recognize the many wonderful and talented people he has met and worked with in what has been a very challenging and rewarding 35 years in aquaculture research, extension and management. As for Tanzania, Al and his wife Birgit, headed there in June 2010 to explore volunteer opportunities with high hopes that these will concern aquaculture.

2000-2010 Student Presentation Award Recipients

Student Presentation Awards are given to the best student poster and oral presentation at the annual meeting.


  • Jessica Whitehead (University of New Brunswick) – Best Oral Presentation
  • Peng Zhao (Memorial University) – Best Poster Presentation


  • Nathaniel Feindel – University of New Brunswick – Best Oral Presentation
  • Kimberly Burt – Memorial University – Best Poster


  • Andrew Vickerson – Best Oral Presentation
  • Melanie Roy – Best Poster


  • Erin Friesen – Best Oral Presentation
  • Thomas C.W. Ho – Best Poster
  • Kris Osuchowski – Best Poster


  • Bernard Antonin Dupont-Cyr – Best Oral Presentation
  • Erika Uribe – Best Poster


  • Guillaume Werstink – Best Oral Presentation
  • Meredith Hutchinson – Best Poster


  • Carla Walbourne – Best Oral Presentation
  • Spencer Russell – Best Poster


  • Kevin Buchan – Best Oral Presentation
  • Nicole Rowsell – Best Poster


  • Joy Becker – Best Oral Presentation
  • Carla MacQuarrie – H.M. Oral Presentation
  • Terralynn Ladner – Best Poster
  • Mark Dionne – H.M. Poster


  • Mark Fast – Best Oral Presentation
  • Charles Sacobie – Best Oral Presentation
  • J.C. Achenbach – Best Poster
  • Alberto Schlicht – H.M. Poster


  • Michelle Atkins – Best Poster
  • Nicole Brun – Best Oral Presentation

Research Award Co-Recipients 2009: Dr. Thierry Chopin & Dr. Shawn Robinson

The 2009 Research Award of Excellence goes to Drs. Thierry Chopin and Shawn Robinson, in recognition of their contributions to taking the concept of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) from the ‘proof stage’ to the realm of commercial production with the help of their interdisciplinary team and industry partners. They realized that most of the challenges that would accompany large-scale IMTA development could not be thoroughly anticipated or studied in the laboratory or with pilot-scale projects and, consequently, emphasized the need for scientific research and commercial IMTA to develop together. This is what is now occurring, and to date no ‘deal breakers’ for the adoption of commercial IMTA have been identified. Their IMTA research has truly been an aquaculture good news story, with few aquaculture research projects having generated such international interest in mainstream and environmental non governmental organization (ENGO) media, including a National Geographic documentary.
Dr. Chopin was born and educated in France, where he obtained his Doctorate from the University of Western Brittany in 1985. He moved to Canada in 1989 and is now a Professor of Marine Biology at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. He is Past President of the Phycological Society of America (2004) and of the Aquaculture Association of Canada (2004-05), and current President of the International Seaweed Association (2007-10).
Dr. Robinson was born in British Columbia and educated on both the east and west coasts, obtaining his PhD in 1988 at the University of British Columbia. He began his career with Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a research scientist at the Biological Station in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in 1988. He is also a Past President of the Aquaculture Association of Canada (2002-03).

Dr. Chopin was originally an ecophysiologist and biochemist working on the relationship between nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) and the production of phycocolloids in seaweeds of commercial value, both in controlled culture conditions and natural beds. Dr. Robinson was an invertebrate ecologist interested in applying ecological principles to the harvest and culture of commercial species (scallops, clams and sea urchins) so that more efficient and sustainable commercial practices could be developed. They became interested in aquaculture in the late 1990’s when they realized that the significant amount of inorganic nutrients and organic particles generated by fed finfish (salmon) aquaculture could be used to enhance the cultivation of extractive species, such as seaweeds (kelps and dulse) and invertebrates (suspension feeders such as mussels, and deposit feeders such as sea urchins, sea cucumbers and polychaetes), through the development of IMTA systems.
In 2000, Drs. Chopin and Robinson assembled an inter-disciplinary team to investigate the different, complex and inter-related aspects of IMTA. This team included natural and socioeconomic scientists and graduate students from the University of New Brunswick and the St. Andrews Biological Station, industrial partners (Heritage Salmon Ltd. and now Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Acadian Seaplants Limited and Ocean Nutrition Canada) and federal and provincial agencies (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, New Brunswick Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and New Brunswick Innovation Foundation). They were funded from 2001 to 2006 by AquaNet, Canada’s Network of Centres of Excellence for Aquaculture, which allowed them to make excellent progress in R&D due to the dedication of the team members and their interdisciplinary approach. Since 2006, the project has expanded from R&D to C (commercialization) with the support of ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund and industrial partners Cooke Aquaculture Inc. and Acadian Seaplants Limited. In 2008, Drs. Chopin and Robinson, now recognized as world leaders in the development of IMTA, were among the key players in the creation of the Canadian IMTA Network (CIMTAN), which became a reality in 2009. This pan-Canadian academic/government/industry partnership will provide the interdisciplinary R&D and the training of highly qualified personnel needed for the commercialization of IMTA in Canada, with a focus on 1) ecological design, ecosystem interactions and biomitigation efficiencies, 2) system innovation and engineering, 3) economic viability and societal acceptance, and 4) regulatory science.
Le Prix d’Excellence en Recherche pour 2009 est attribué aux Drs Thierry Chopin et Shawn Robinson en reconnaissance de leurs contributions pour avoir mené le concept d’Aquaculture Intégrée Multi-Trophique (AIMT) du stade de la démonstration jusqu’à l’orée de la production commerciale avec l’aide de leur équipe inter-disciplinaire et de leurs partenaires industriels. Ils ont compris que la plupart des défis accompagnant le développement à grande échelle de l’AIMT ne pourraient pas être totalement anticipés ou étudiés ni au laboratoire ni à l’échelle pilote et, en conséquence, ils ont toujours insisté pour que la recherche scientifique et l’AIMT au niveau commercial soient développées ensemble. C’est ce qui est en train de se passer et jusqu’à maintenant aucun frein à l’adoption de l’AIMT commerciale n’a été identifié. Leur recherche sur l’AIMT est vraiment une nouvelle positive pour l’aquaculture et peu de projets de recherche en aquaculture ont généré autant d’intérêt dans les médias grand public et des organisations environnementales non gouvernementales, incluant un documentaire tourné par la National Geographic.

Le Dr. Chopin est né et a fait ses études en France, ou il a obtenu en 1985 son Doctorat à l’Université de Bretagne Occidentale. Il s’est installé au Canada en 1989 et est actuellement Professeur de Biologie Marine à l’Université du Nouveau Brunswick à Saint John. Il a été Président de la Société Phycologique d’Amérique (2004) et de l’Association Aquacole du Canada (2004-05) et est l’actuel Président de l’Association Internationale des Algues (2007-10).
Le Dr. Shawn Robinson est né en Colombie Britannique et a fait ses études aussi bien sur les côtes est et carrière avec Pêches et Océans Canada comme chercheur à la Station Biologique de St. Andrews, Nouveau Brunswick, en 1988. Il est aussi Ancien Président de l’Association Aquacole du Canada (2002-03).
Le Dr Chopin était à l’origine un écophysiologiste et biochimiste travaillant sur la relation entre sels nutritifs (le phosphore et l’azote) et la production des phycocolloïdes chez les algues à valeur commerciale, aussi bien en conditions de culture contrôlées que dans les champs naturels en mer.
Le Dr Robinson était un écologiste des invertébrés intéressé par l’application des principes écologiques à la pêche et la culture d’espèces commerciales (les pétoncles, palourdes et oursins) afin que des méthodes commerciales plus efficaces et durables soient développées. Ils se sont intéressés à l’aquaculture à la fin des années 90 quand ils ont réalisé que la quantité importante de sels nutritifs inorganiques et de particules organiques générée par l’aquaculture de nourrissage des poissons (le saumon) pouvait être utilisée pour accroître la culture d’espèces d’extraction, comme les algues (les laminaires et dulse) et les invertébrés (se nourrissant des particules en suspension comme les moules ou des particules sur le fond comme les oursins, les concombres de mer et les polychètes), par le développement de systèmes d’AIMT.
En 2000, les Drs Chopin et Robinson ont mis en place une équipe inter-disciplinaire pour étudier les différents aspects, complexes et reliés, de l’AIMT. Cette équipe était composée de chercheurs des sciences naturelles et socio-économiques et d’étudiants en thèse de l’Université du Nouveau Brunswick et de la Station Biologique de St. Andrews, de partenaires industriels (Heritage Salmon Ltd. et maintenant Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Acadian Seaplants Limited et Ocean Nutrition Canada) et d’agences fédérales et provinciales (Pêches et Océans Canada, l’Agence Canadienne d’Inspection des Aliments, le Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêches et de l’Aquaculture du Nouveau Brunswick, l’Agence de Promotion Economique du Canada Atlantique (APECA) et la Fondation de l’Innovation du Nouveau Brunswick). Ils ont été supportés de 2001 à 2006 par AquaNet, le Réseau de Centres d’Excellence en Aquaculture du Canada, ce qui leur a permis de faire d’excellents progrès en R&D attribuables au dévouement des membres de l’équipe et à leur approche inter-disciplinaire. Depuis 2006, le projet s’est étendu de la R&D à la C (commercialisation) avec le soutien du Fonds d’Innovation de l’Atlantique de l’APECA et des partenaires industriels Cooke Aquaculture Inc. et Acadian Seaplants Limited. En 2008, les Drs. Chopin et Robinson, maintenant reconnus comme leaders internationaux dans le développement de l’AIMT, étaient parmi les principaux acteurs pour la création du Réseau Canadien de l’AIMT (RCAIMT), qui est devenu une réalité en 2009. Ce partenariat pan-canadien entre des institutions universitaires et gouvernementales et des partenaires industriels va mettre en place la R&D inter disciplinaire et la formation de personnes hautement qualifiées necessaries pour la commercialisation de l’AIMT au Canada en se concentrant sur 1) le design écologique, les interactions écosystèmiques et les rendements en biomitigation, 2) les innovations des systèmes et de l’ingénierie, 3) la viabilité économique et l’acceptation sociétale, et 4) la science en support des réglementations.

Aquaculture Association of Canada