Board of Directors
BC CAHS has an amazing Board of Directors who generously gives time and utilizes their diverse experience to provide direction for the Centre’s ongoing activities. Drawing upon their experience and affiliations, BC CAHS Board Members are able to address the needs of a wide variety of stakeholder interests and needs. This experience includes: academic institutions, environmental and conservation organizations, salmon aquaculture, shellfish aquaculture, government, fish health products and consulting services.
Dr. Jim Brackett, DVM
Jim Brackett graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1980. After a few years in mixed practice, he began fish farm health management consulting and managed a fish disease diagnostic laboratory in Nanaimo, BC. Jim consulted to the Provincial government on fish regulatory issues and served as a Special Advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada on fish health regulations. He founded Atlantic Fish Health Inc. at the Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI. Jim founded and served as the first CEO and Board Member of the BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences. Until retiring in 2018, he was an owner and President of Syndel Laboratories Ltd., an aquaculture pharmaceutical company.
Jim served as a Board Member and co-Chair of the Mid Island Science and Technology Innovation Council. He was a member of scientific advisory groups and a reviewer for several organisations.
Jim was a member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and was awarded a Lifetime Membership in 2019. He was licensed by the BC and New Brunswick Veterinary Associations along with membership and various roles in the Association of Aquaculture Veterinarians of BC, Eastern Aquatic Veterinarians Association, Canadian Association of Aquatic Veterinarians, World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Jim lives in Parksville, BC.
Al Castledine, MSc, PhD
Over a 30 year period, Al Castledine held various policy, development and extension positions in aquaculture and fisheries with the governments of Ontario, British Columbia and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He holds postgraduate degrees in nutrition (MSc. University of Guelph) and biochemistry (PhD. University of Victoria). These research degrees concerned vitamin and lipid requirements of fish respectively. He retired in 2010 from his position as Director of Aquaculture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and since then has consulted in Canada, Sri Lanka and Abu Dhabi. He has been a strong supporter of CAHS through conception to implementation. He sees CAHS as key to advancing knowledge of health in wild and captive fish populations within the broader context of ecosystem health.
Norm Johnson, BSc
Norm has worked up and down the Coast for 40 years on fisheries projects. After 4 years with the Chemainus Salmon Enhancement Program working with Dr. David Groves, he went to the University of Victoria to earn a BSc and to work with Dr. Ed Ishiguro on salmonid diseases.
After university, Norm worked with abalone, salmon, tilapia and a variety of other fish. He spent 10 years at the University of Victoria running a fisheries research wetlab.
He was the Fisheries Program Manager for the Council of the Haida Nation and is currently the Hatchery Manager for the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA). With the ONA, he is collaborating on many First Nation fisheries projects across BC.
Norm and his wife are based out of a small hobby farm on the outskirts of Victoria, BC.
A keen angler from a young age, Jeremy was born in Southampton, England and, with his family, immigrated to Montreal in 1967. After finishing high school in Montreal, work and travel elsewhere for a few years lead to a desire to check out Canada’s west coast. At a friend’s suggestion, he came to Campbell River for a few days in 1973 and never left, other than a year at school in Victoria.
In June 1974, Jeremy started as a rookie fishing guide at Painter’s Lodge, becoming a self-employed guide in 1979, at which occupation he has continued seasonally May to October ever since. Based in his home town, Jeremy has been fortunate to fish elsewhere around much of the BC coast, particularly in Kyuquot. Starting in the mid-1990’s, he began working seasonally at an aquaculture hatchery and then at DFO’s Quinsam River hatchery, where he continues to work each spring and fall during the busy seasons there.
With an interest in the management of both salmon and the recreational fishery, in the early 1980’s, Jeremy began participating locally in the Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB), the advisory and consultation process between the fishery and DFO and other government agencies. He became chairman of the main regional board 1997 – 2007 and remains active in the SFAB, representing the recreational fishery in a number of initiatives. This experience led to a number of other opportunities, including being appointed to the Canadian delegation to the Pacific Salmon Treaty process (1999 to present) and the BC Pacific Salmon Forum (2004 – 9), a provincial research initiative. Jeremy was also a participant in the Williams Inquiry regarding Fraser River sockeye (2004/5) and a director of the Middle Bay Sustainable Aquaculture Institute, researching marine closed-containment technology. A member and director of several recreational fishing organizations, including the Tyee Club of BC, Jeremy has a keen interest in stream stewardship and for more than twenty years wrote the weekly “Ardent Angler” column for a local newspaper.
Maureen Ritter was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. Ever since she could hold a fishing rod, she has. Maureen began her career with fish working for Apex Bio Resources on the Chemainus River SEP over 35 years ago. Maureen’s career has led her up and down the coast of BC managing freshwater hatcheries along with overseeing various freshwater operations. Maureen has been a volunteer with the Nootka Sound Resource Board and the Nootka Sound Watershed Committee. Since moving to Black Creek, Maureen, along with her daughters, has volunteered for the Oyster River Enhancement Society. Maureen currently is the Chair of the BC CAHS Board and Managing Director for Canada Cryogenetics Services. This allows her to follow her passion with working with fish on all levels. Maureen’s motto is working through collaboration with all interested parties, brings successful resolutions for the future.
When Maureen is not working, she can be found camping or boating with her family.
Dr. Spencer Russell, MSc, DVM, PhD
Dr. Spencer Russell is a Fish Health Veterinarian with a PhD in Veterinary immunology/pathobiology, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo, BC. Spencer’s career in aquaculture spans over 25 years involving several areas of fish health. Prior to his position at VIU, Spencer was a Research Fellow with Elanco Animal Health (Aquaculture; formerly operated as Novartis Animal Health) where he was responsible for developing research projects advancing the aquaculture vaccine pipeline. Before joining Elanco, Spencer worked for Pfizer Animal Health (Aquaculture) as a Principle Research Scientist and attending Veterinarian at Pfizer’s aquatic research facility. During his time with Pfizer, Spencer spearheaded the autogenous vaccine production team, providing veterinary, technical and scientific support for aquaculture clients globally. Spencer also spent 10 years as a Veterinary pathologist and member of the Fish Pathology Laboratory at the Ontario Veterinary College; there, he completed his PhD and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and later was responsible for managing research and aiding in the development of diagnostic techniques to support aquatic disease surveillance in Canada.
Areas of expertise
Aquatic animal health research and project management, fish disease diagnosis, surveillance, and disease management, vaccinology and aquatic biosecurity program development.
Josh Samson, BCom, CPA, CA
Josh and his family moved back to Campbell River in October 2015 where Josh is now the Corporate Treasurer for Broadstreet Properties Ltd. In addition to being a board member of BC CAHS, Josh is a board member and the Treasurer of the Campbell River Community Foundation.
Yvonne Sheehan, BSc, Grad Dipl Aqua
Brood Program Manager, Marine Harvest Canada
Yvonne was born and raised in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. She attended Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and graduated with her B.Sc. in Biology in 1995. She went on to the Marine Institute’s Masters in Aquaculture and completed her first year of the program receiving her Graduate Diploma in Aquaculture before being recruited by a BC aquaculture company.
Yvonne’s experience in aquaculture and fisheries research spans the course of over 22 years and includes: Aquaculture Site Manager, Smolt Quality Manager, Production Manager, General Manager and at present, Brood Program Manager. She has proven herself as a tenacious and innovative leader in a cutting edge breeding program, delivering substantial commercial results with proven cost control and budgeting experience.
After spending four years abroad, as General Manager with Salmon Enterprises of Tasmania (SALTAS), Yvonne and her family returned to Vancouver Island where she joined Mowi Canada West (formally Marine Harvest Canada) in May of 2014.