Aquaculture North America

Virtual Event
Women in North American Aquaculture Summit 2023
September 7, 2023 at 11:00am EST

Panel 3: Young professionals in Canadian aquaculture


  • Michelle Franze, Manager of Communications, Partnerships, and Community, BC Salmon Farmers Association
  • Sam Tomkinson, Regulatory Specialist, Grieg Seafood BC
  • Emily Warren, Licence and Development Officer, Cermaq Canada
  • Kirstyn Hallberg, Environmental Specialist, Grieg Seafood BC
  • Kaitlin Guitard, Fish Health and Food Safety, Lab Manager, Mowi Canada West
  • Kathryn Smith, Aquaculture Veterinarian, Grieg Seafood BC
Young Professionals of Salmon Farming in BC (formerly the BCSFA Youth Council) is a diverse group of millennial leaders (under 35) that represent virtually every aspect of B.C.’s salmon farming value chain.

The group includes farm/hatchery technicians and managers, water quality technicians, engineers, transportation managers, veterinarians, communicators, procurement managers, biologists, fish processors, certification managers, environmental specialists, and divers.

They aim to be an inclusive body that leads, informs, and sustains a positive dialogue about ocean-based salmon farming in rural coastal Vancouver Island communities.

Michelle Franze
As a knowledgeable aquaculture professional with over 6 years of experience, Michelle has dedicated her career to promoting sustainable and responsible practices. In her current role as Manager of Communications, Partnerships and Community for the BC Salmon Farmers Association, she has used her expertise to effectively communicate the benefits and importance of aquaculture to a wide audience.

Her passion for aquaculture began after her time at Dalhousie University, where she earned a degree in Marine Biology. Following this, Michelle received an opportunity to work for a First Nations-owned scallop production company in Prince Rupert, BC. During her time there, she experienced living in a rural coastal community, including all the challenges and opportunities that came with it. She understood the potential aquaculture could provide while contributing to sustainable food production. Since then, Michelle has worked to promote the sector’s potential as a low-carbon food production solution that can increase our food security and support rural coastal communities.

Whether developing effective communication strategies or working hands-on with industry members and stakeholders, Michelle is dedicated to positively impacting the world around her.

Sam Tomkinson
Sam Tomkinson is the regulatory specialist for Grieg Seafood BC. Prior to her five years in aquaculture, she completed an Honours Bachelor of Science for Biology and Physical Geography and a Post Graduate Certificate in Aquaculture in Ontario. Sam is responsible for ensuring Grieg complies with regulatory and legal requirements, including managing regulatory submissions. Task diversity is a highlight of her position and allows her to interact with all departments within Grieg.

Emily Warren
Emily Warren is the licence and development officer at Cermaq Canada. She manages the licences and permits the sea-sites and hatcheries need to operate, as well as help with environmental monitoring, regulatory reporting, and funding and development for new projects.

Warren has a Bachelor of Environmental Biology at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). After UPEI, she moved to Vancouver Island on the West coast to take the post-degree diploma in Fisheries and Aquaculture at Vancouver Island University, and from there did her M.Sc. at the University of Victoria researching sea urchin aquaculture.

Warren is passionate about being able to sustainably produce healthy and tasty seafood for Canadians – and getting to work by the ocean every day “is a pretty good bonus too.”

Kirstyn Hallberg
Kirstyn Hallberg is an environmental specialist at Grieg Seafood BC. She graduated from the University of Victoria in 2019 with a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography. She previously worked with DFO before joining Grieg on the sea sites. Since then, she has worked as a site technician and an assistant site manager before stepping into her current role as Environmental Specialist. Her role focuses on monitoring environmental conditions within farming regions and implementing mitigation strategies against harmful environmental events such as toxic algal blooms or low oxygen. She works diligently to ensure the health of the fish, the environment and the success of operations.

Kaitlin Guitard
Kaitlin Guitard graduated with a BSc in Animal Science from Dalhousie University Agricultural College, and began working for Mowi Canada West as a Sea Site Technician at a smolt farm called Larsen Island in the Broughton Archipelago. She then moved into a water quality position where she monitored plankton and jellyfish at all farms in the Broughton. In 2022, Guitard advanced into her current position with Mowi as a Fish Health and Food Safety Laboratory Manager. Her job duties now entail shipping or processing samples taken by the fish health team and working closely with the two processing facilities in the food safety department.

Kathryn Smith
Dr. Kathryn Smith is a veterinarian who works at Grieg Seafood BC. She completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Ontario Veterinary College. Prior to that, she was heavily involved in research completing a Master’s in Pathobiology at the University of Guelph, where her project focused on ticks and tick-borne diseases.

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