Our News Archive

2019 Research Award of Excellence – Dr. Simon Jones

The AAC Research Award of Excellence recognises high quality, innovative and current research that

has had a significant impact on the aquaculture industry in Canada.


Dr. Simon Jones Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Simon completed his B.Sc. in Marine Biology and went on to obtain his M.Sc.

and Ph.D. in aquatic parasitology from the University of Guelph. He took up an

NSERC-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Wageningen University in the Netherlands

where he studied fish immunology. This led to an NSERC industrial fellowship

in Charlottetown, where he spent 8 years researching the development

of commercial vaccines for use in salmon aquaculture against piscirickettsiosis,

infectious salmon anaemia and cold water vibriosis, among others. In 2000, Jones

accepted a research scientist position with DFO at the Pacific Biological Station in

Nanaimo where he now leads the Marine Parasitology Program. This research program

is highly collaborative with strong links to industry and academia, in Canada

and overseas. Dr. Jones’ diverse background and research interests are reflected

in the areas on which the program focuses: pathogen diversity, host interactions

and disease mitigation. Currently, he is interested in disentangling the roles of

environmental, host and infectious factors in the occurrence of proliferative gill

disease, which is emergent and of considerable significance to marine cultured

salmon in BC. His long-term interest in salmon lice seeks to better understand

mechanisms underlying the highly variable susceptibility to sea lice among species

of Pacific salmon and the significance of the threespine stickleback to the ecology

of salmon lice in Western Canada. In addition, he plays a central role in an ongoing

effort to advise the Federal Government on the likelihood and consequences of

risks to wild salmon in BC posed by infection and disease in marine-reared Atlantic



In addition to the management of a research program, Dr. Jones is past chair and

current member of the ICES Working Group on Pathology and Diseases of Marine

Organisms, which provides annual advice to ICES member countries on diseases

of note in wild and farmed finfish and shellfish. Simon also serves as the Canadian

Branch Officer for the European Association of Fish Pathologists. He is a member

of the editorial board of the Journal of Fish Diseases and the Bulletin of the EAFP

and is adjunct faculty at the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University.

In his spare time, Simon dabbles in wine making, highland bagpiping and general


2018 Student Presentation Awards

Awards were presented at Aquaculture Canada 2018 for the best student poster and oral presentations. They were awarded to:

Ariane Aspirault – Best Poster Award (pictured above)


Jenny Weitzman – Best Oral Presentation Award (below)


2017 AAC Student Presentation Award Winners

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

Holly Fisher – Best Poster Presentation (pictured above)



Jenny Weitzman – Best Oral Presentation (pictured below)


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 2018: Professor Rich Moccia

Few individuals have consistently shaped and enhanced our aquaculture community like Professor Rich Moccia, who has been a tireless advocate for the Canadian aquaculture sector for over 40 years.
What is perhaps most unique about his contributions, are the multiple venues through which he has accomplished this, successfully contributing through aquaculture research, teaching, industry
development, and extension outreach.

After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology, Moccia began his research career studying tumors in Great Lakes fishes being used as sentinel species for monitoring ecosystem health. After completing graduate studies in 1978, he landed his first ‘real job’ at the Ontario Veterinary College, Fish Pathology Laboratory, where he provided diagnostic and clinical support to the fledgling commercial fish farming industry. And his passion for the aquaculture sector was born. He left the university
to build 2 SME’s in private industry called Aquatic Pathology Services, and International Aquaculture
Developments Corp, and specialized in tech transfer projects, diagnostics, consulting and developing the early capacity in reproductive manipulation and semen cryogenics. In late 1987, he returned to the University of Guelph as an Assistant Professor of Aquaculture, and still holds a faculty position today as a full professor. Rich has authored over 80 peer-reviewed, aquaculture related publications, over 100 technical reports and factsheets, and given hundreds of presentations across an expanse of disciplines, encompassing animal welfare, pathology, physiology, nutrition, production, engineering and
environmental impact assessment.

In 1988, Moccia spearheaded the development of the Alma Aquaculture Research Station, and the Aquaculture Centre, a joint venture with two provincial Ministries and the University of Guelph. Rich was responsible for overseeing the design, construction, staffing and operationalizing of the research and quarantine facility-a first of its kind for the province of Ontario.

Professor Moccia has also been an exemplary educator, undergraduate and graduate student advisor, and mentor to many young career professionals. Rich developed several undergraduate and graduate courses over his career, and he is still teaching to this day. He was famous (or notorious, to some students!) for promoting wild and crazy ‘lateral thinking exercises’ as a means to problem solve by
combining multiple disciplines to find solutions. And in 1993, he developed UG’s first MSc Aquaculture Program. Professor Moccia has been a primary advisor or committee member to over 90 graduate students, and has sat on over 75 examining committees of M.Sc and PhD theses defences. Moccia’s student-centred philanthropy is exemplified by his ongoing donations to the AAC student scholarship fund for almost 25 years, as well as his ongoing collaborations and enduring friendships with so many of his former students.

Over the years, Richard has been at the forefront of several industry groups, having been President of the Ontario Aquaculture Association, as well as a founding member of the Canadian Aquaculture Producers Council (now known as CAIA). His leadership skills and formal mediation training,
as well as extensive knowledge of strategic planning, governance, human resources, and finance have always been in demand, and he has been a member of several Boards of Directors of scientific organizations and NSERC NCE’s, private companies, and community philanthropic groups, as well as numerous science and policy committees helping to guide smart legislation for Canada. Throughout
his career, Rich has helped hundreds of farmers and industry newcomers navigate the technology, biology and the regulatory framework needed to operate a fish farm.

Professor Moccia also served 10 years as the Associate Vice-President of Research (AVPR), Agrifood and Partnerships at the UG. During his tenure as AVPR, Rich was responsible for a portfolio worth nearly $100M a year, and included overseeing the Provincial Animal Health Lab, the Provincial Agriculture and Food Lab, 14 research stations across the province, and managing research, tech
transfer, HQP and commercialization initiatives across a wide range of agrifood programs, including aquaculture.

Professor Moccia’s extensive and varied contributions have been recognized by UG’s Distinguished
Professorial Teaching Award in 2002, a Distinguished Extension Service Award in 2004, the AAC Award for Research Excellence in 2007, and the Dr. Bill Winegard Community Volunteer Award in 2015, among others. He was also inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Rich Moccia is one of the true, innovative pioneers in the Canadian aquaculture sector. His vision has given so much to those in the field, whether it be farmers, researchers, educators, students or regulators. Few can claim such an extensive aquaculture legacy. In his spare time, Rich is an avid hockey player, motorcyclist, hiker, scuba diver and boater, and recently earned his commercial boat Captains licence to support his semiretirement plan of skippering a scuba charter vessel in Tobermory, Ontario!


Peu d’individus ont constamment formé et amélioré la communauté de l’aquaculture comme le professeur Rich Moccia qui a été un défenseur infatigable pour le secteur de l’aquaculture au Canada depuis plus de 40 ans. Ce qui est peut-être le plus unique à propos de ses contributions, c’est le succès qu’il a connu dans des domaines aussi diversifiés que la recherche en aquaculture,
l’enseignement, le développement de l’industrie et la vulgarisation.

Après avoir obtenu un diplôme de premier cycle en biologie marine, Rich Moccia a commencé sa carrière de chercheur en étudiant les tumeurs chez les poissons des Grands Lacs qui étaient utilisés comme espèces sentinelles pour surveiller la santé de l’écosystème. Après avoir terminé des études supérieures en 1978, il a obtenu son premier « vrai travail » au Collège vétérinaire de l’Ontario dans le Laboratoire de pathologie des poissons, où il a fourni un appui diagnostique et clinique à l’industrie piscicole commerciale naissante. C’est là qu’est née sa passion pour le secteur aquacole. Il quitta l’université pour se consacrer à deux PME dans le secteur privé, les Services de pathologie aquatique et la Société internationale de développement de l’aquaculture, où il se spécialisa dans les projets de transfert de technologie, de diagnostic, de consultation et de développement de la capacité en manipulation de la reproduction et en cryogénie du sperme. À la fin de 1987, il revint à l’Université de Guelph, comme assistant professeur en aquaculture et il occupe actuellement un poste de professeur titulaire. Rich est l’auteur de plus de 80 publications reliées à l’aquaculture qui ont été évaluées par des pairs, plus de 100 rapports techniques et fiches d’information, et il a donné des centaines de présentations couvrant un vaste éventail de disciplines, notamment le bien-être animal, la pathologie,
la physiologie, la nutrition, la production, le génie et l’évaluation de l’impact environnemental.

En 1988, Rich Moccia a dirigé le développement de la Station de recherche aquacole d’Alma et le Centre d’aquaculture, une coentreprise avec deux ministères provinciaux et l’Université de Guelph. Rich a été chargé de superviser la conception, la construction, la dotation en personnel et l’opérationnalisation de l’installation de recherche et de quarantaine, une première en son genre
pour la province d’Ontario.

Le professeur Moccia a également été un éducateur exemplaire, un conseiller aux étudiants de premier et de troisième cycles et le mentor de nombreux jeunes professionnels. Rich a développé plusieurs cours de premier cycle et du cycle supérieur au cours de sa carrière, et il enseigne encore à ce jour. Il est célèbre (pour ne pas dire notoire, selon certains élèves !) parce qu’il encourage des « exercices de pensée latérale » fantaisistes et extravagants comme moyen de résoudre les problèmes en combinant plusieurs disciplines pour trouver des solutions. En 1993, il a développé le premier programme de maîtrise en sciences aquacoles à l’Université Guelph. Le professeur Moccia a été un conseiller principal ou un membre de comité pour plus de 90 étudiants des cycles supérieurs et il a siégé sur
plus de 75 comités d’examen des défenses de thèses de maîtrise ès sciences et de doctorat. La philanthropie du professeur Moccia qui est centrée sur l’étudiant est illustrée par ses dons constants au fond de bourses pour étudiants de l’AAC depuis près de 25 ans, ainsi que ses collaborations continues et ses amitiés durables avec beaucoup de ses anciens élèves.

Au cours des années, Richard a été à l’avant-garde de plusieurs groupes de l’industrie, après avoir été
président de l’Association ontarienne de l’aquaculture, ainsi que membre fondateur du Conseil canadien des producteurs aquacoles (maintenant appelé l’AICA). Ses compétences en leadership et sa formation en médiation formelle, ainsi que ses connaissances approfondies de la planification stratégique, de la gouvernance, des ressources humaines et des finances ont toujours été en demande, et il a été membre de plusieurs conseils d’administration d’organisations scientifiques
et de RCE du CRSNG, de sociétés privées et de groupes philanthropiques communautaires, ainsi que de nombreux comités scientifiques et de comités d’élaboration de politiques qui aident à orienter une législation intelligente pour le Canada. Tout au long de sa carrière, Rich a aidé des centaines de pisciculteurs et de nouveaux venus dans l’industrie à naviguer dans la technologie, la biologie et le
cadre réglementaire nécessaire pour l’exploitation d’une pisciculture.

Le professeur Moccia a également servi pendant 10 ans comme vice-président associé de la recherche (VPAR), de l’agroalimentaire et des partenariats à l’UG. Au cours de son mandat comme VPAR, Rich a été responsable d’un portefeuille d’une valeur de près de 100 millions de dollars par an. Il supervisait le Laboratoire provincial de santé animale, le Laboratoire provincial de l’agriculture et
de l’alimentation et 14 stations de recherche à travers la province et il gérait des initiatives de  echerche, de transfert technologique, de PHQ et de commercialisation dans un large éventail de programmes agroalimentaires, y compris l’aquaculture.

Les contributions étendues et variées du professeur Moccia ont été récompensées par le Distinguished Professorial Teaching Award d’UG en 2002, le Distinguished Extension Service Award en 2004, le prix AAC pour l’excellence en recherche en 2007 et le Prix du Bénévolat communautaire Dr. Bill Winegard en 2015, entre autres. Il a également été intronisé dans le Temple de la renommée sportive de Guelph
en 2018.

Rich Moccia est un véritable pionnier de l’innovation dans le secteur de l’aquaculture au Canada. Sa vision a apporté tellement à ceux qui oeuvrent dans le domaine, que ce soit les pisciculteurs, les chercheurs, les éducateurs, les étudiants ou les régulateurs. Rares sont ceux qui peuvent revendiquer
un héritage aquacole aussi étendu. Dans ses temps libres, Rich est un passionné de hockey, un
motocycliste, un randonneur, un plongeur et un plaisancier. Récemment, il a obtenu son brevet de capitaine de bateau commercial en vue de réaliser son plan de semi-retraite, piloter un navire affrété de plongée à Tobermory en Ontario !

Research Award Recipient 2017: Dr. Réjean Tremblay

Réjean Tremblay is professor in aquaculture at the lnstitut des sciences de la mer
(Université du Québec à Rimouski) since 7999. He is involved in several research
projects with the training of 40 MSc and PhD students working presently in the
production and the management of aquatic resources. He is co-author of 118 scientific
papers and 47 technical reports. By his participation in the administrative council of
several organizations, his experience also includes development of fish and shellfish
farming and government services. He has a biology BSc from UQAC, an oceanography
MSc from UQAR and a biology PhD from Université Laval. He’s a specialist in
ecophysiology applied to aquaculture in shellfish and fish farming and also in lobster
enhancement. His laboratory participates each year in the AAC meeting by several
presentations. He is an active advocate of communication between researchers and
industry to develop strong scientific quality research programs oriented to technological

Réjean Tremblay est professeur en aquaculture à l’lnstitut des sciences de la mer
(Université du Québec d Rimouski), depuis 1999. Il a été impliqué dans plusieurs projets
de recherche intégrant la formation jusqu’à maintenant de 40 étudiants MSc et PhD, qui
travaillent dans la production et la gestion des ressources aquatiques. ll est coauteur de
118 articles scientifiques et 41 rapports techniques. En participant à différents conseils
d’administration, il est impliqué également directement dans le développement des
fermes aquacoles et le service gouvernemental. ll a un BSc en biologie de I’UQAC, une
MSc en océanographie de I’UQAR et un PhD en biologie de l’Université Laval avec une
spécialité en écophysiologie appliquée à l’aquaculture des bivalves et des poissons, mais
également sur l’ensemencement du homard. ll croit fortement à la communication entre
chercheurs et aquaculteurs afin de développer des programmes de recherche de grande
qualité scientifique ayant un fort potentiel de transfert technologique.

Nominations for AAC Lifetime Achievement Award

We are now welcoming nominations for our Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes individuals who are a current or former member of AAC for their outstanding contribution to the Association and the aquaculture sector in Canada. Please send your nomination and supporting letters to Matthew Liutkus, Chair of the AAC Awards Committee at aacawards@gmail.com. The deadline for nominations is March 16th, 2018

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Rod Carney

Rod Carney graduated from the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Aquaculture Technician
Training Program in 1979. In 1980 he went to work at the International Atlantic Salmon Foundation
as a fish culture technician and became assistant manager in 1984. In 1988 Rod became the Research and

Production Hatchery Manager for the Salmon Genetics Research Program (SGRP) and was responsible
for the production of Atlantic salmon smolts for the burgeoning New Brunswick aquaculture industry. He
liaised with and maintained systems and facilities for scientists who through the SGRP were working in
the fields of broodstock selection, spawning synchronization, gene transfer, sex reversal, sterilization, light
manipulation and fish identification techniques. In 1997 Rod became an instructor in the Aquaculture
Technician Program at NBCC where he taught for 19 years. Rod lives in St. Andrews with his wife and
enjoys soccer, badminton, vegetable farming and anything that Grand Lake has to offer.

Student Travel Awards Recipients 2011-2016

Student Travel Awards – given to students presenting papers at the annual meeting to help defray travel expenses of attending the meeting.

Recent recipients:

Francisco Bravo
Pierre-Olivier Fontaine
Daria Gallardi
Stanzin Gawa
Aly Ghanem
Lindsey Gillard
Stephanie Hall
Melissa Holborn
Krista Latimer
Shawna Semple
Andrew Sevier

Katharina Correa
Forest Dussault
Minhao Fu
Daria Gallardi
Melissa Holborn
Song Lin
Xiang Lin
Jing Lu
Stacy Murray
Agnieszka Stadnik
Yangfan Zhang

Paul van Dam-Bates
Daria Gallardi
Alejandro Guitierrez
David Huyben
Song Lin
Jeremy Le Luyer
Nicole Nadar
Chris Small
Xoana Taboada
Guoqiang Wang
Yangfan Zhang

Stephanie Dallarie-Dufresne
Bernard-Antonin Dupont-Cyr
Felix Christen
Daria Gallardi
Alejandro Gutierrez
Tomer Katan
Jérémy Le Luyer
Song Lin
Joe Mersereau
Neomie Poirier-Stewart
Katherine Tanaka
Melanie Trudel
Di Wan
Xi Xue

Wasiim Kader Bathia
Courtney D Edwards
Jessica Fry
Daria Gallardi
Sarah Granier
David Huyben
Nicole Leavitt
Danielle Lewis
Colin Novak
Christina Rochus
Qingheng Xu
Xi Xue

Andrea Bartsch
Laura Braden
Terry Bungay
Nancy Camarillo-Sepulveda
Mathieu Doucet
Alejandro Gutierrez
David Huyben
Danielle Lewis
Song LIn
Colin Novak
Nicole Quinn
Matt Webb
Jessica Whitehead
Jess Wyatt