Aquaculture North America

Virtual Event
Women in North American Aquaculture Summit 2024
September 5, 2024 at 11:00am EST



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BioMar celebrates its North American women in aquaculture.

Aquaculture is a vibrant and diverse industry that provides many possibilities for creativity, sustainability, and social impact. At BioMar, we are honoured to work with a group of brilliant and dedicated North American women driving aquaculture development. In this article, we want to highlight some of their aquaculture journeys and achievements.


Monica Juarez Ceballos: From Mexico City to Norway, merging cultures and leading innovations in aquaculture

Monica Juarez Ceballos, Senior Scientist at BioMar Group, is one of our North American women that helps advance the aquaculture industry. Originally from Mexico City, Monica has spent the past 16 years living in Norway, where she has integrated herself in the Nordic country without loosing any of her Mexican side.

In her role as Senior Scientist, Monica has two primary responsibilities. She leads the Shrimp Team, merging the needs of technical departments into R&D projects with relevant objectives aligned with local product strategy. Additionally, she is responsible for R&D implementations in the Salmon Product Matrix, facilitating the application of R&D knowledge into products. Monica thrives on mentoring colleagues, empowering them to navigate the complex world of fish feed nutrition

Monica’s journey in aquaculture began with a childhood dream of becoming a scientist. Growing up in a busy city like Mexico City, she became aware of potential food supply challenges, which led her to study Food Technology. Her path took a romantic turn when she moved to Norway for love, and she further pursued her education in Biotechnology. Recognizing the impact of aquaculture on Norway’s food chain, she focused her studies on this field.

Her career at BioMar started even before she completed her master’s thesis. Initially, she worked in the Sourcing department for two years before transitioning to the R&D department. Her first task in her new role involved documenting the use of various raw materials and their value in formulation, including implementing raw materials like guar meal and algaeprime.

Monica’s contributions over her 12 years at BioMar span multiple species and regions, including salmon in Norway, the UK, Australia, and Chile, as well as shrimp in Ecuador and Vietnam. She has also provided research data for trials in Japanese seabass and sturgeon to BioMar China. Her journey has been inspiring, demonstrating how research can transform raw materials into valuable final products, optimizing nutrient utilization.

Her story is one of passion, innovation, and cultural integration. Her work in aquaculture has not only fulfilled her childhood dream but also allowed her to make a significant impact on global food production.

Monica’s message to aspiring aquaculture women is clear: “The future of food is blue, and women are at the forefront! While a Mexican woman in aquaculture might be uncommon, it grants you the extraordinary chance to feed the world through sustainable practices. Be uncommon, be extraordinary!”

 

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Dr. Kyla Zatti: From Saskatchewan to Norway, a journey of hard work and innovation in fish nutrition

Kyla Zatti, Sustainable Nutrition and Raw Material Lead at BioMar Group is one of our North American women who has made significant contributions to the field of aquaculture by managing raw materials for feed production and coordinating research and development activities.

Kyla’s aquaculture journey began during her undergraduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan, where she explored fish nutrition through a research project on wheat-based distillers’ grains. This experience sparked her interest and led her to present her findings in Trondheim, Norway, in 2009. Driven by her passion for fish nutrition, Kyla pursued a Ph.D. focused on enhancing highly unsaturated fatty acids in rainbow trout diets using canola, flax, and camelina oils.

In 2017, Kyla joined BioMar Global R&D, working in the Nutrition Formulation Department. This was a significant change for her and her family, as they moved from Canada to Norway, where they have been living happily for years. Kyla says that learning a new language and raising a family in a different country was challenging but rewarding.

Kyla’s contributions to the aquaculture industry are exemplified by her role as lead author of a groundbreaking paper published in 2023, which demonstrated that the total replacement of fish oil with algae oil in aquafeed is now fully feasible with no detriment to taste, fish health or fish growth. This paper has received widespread recognition and praise from the aquaculture industry and the scientific community.

Kyla is a shining example of how North American women are transforming our industry. Kyla’s message to other women who are interested in aquaculture is inspiring and empowering: “If a land-locked prairie girl from Saskatchewan can end up in Norway working in aquaculture on a global scale while learning a new language and raising a family – anyone can!”

 

Dr. Helen Hamilton: from Texas to Trondheim, a story about passion in sustainability.

Helen Hamilton, Global Sustainability Manager at BioMar Group, is another North American woman who has made significant contributions to the aquaculture industry. Leading a team of analysts responsible for implementing best-in-class science that forms the foundation of BioMar’s BioSustain program, Helen’s journey in aquaculture began with her passion for sustainability.

Born and raised in Sealy, Texas, Helen’s interest in sustainability was born during her high school days. She pursued her passion through various educational paths, starting with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. During this time, she spent late nights on rooftops measuring NOx pollution using lasers as part of a research project. Continuing her educational journey, Helen obtained a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, specialising in sustainability technology and ended up completing a PhD in Industrial Ecology, where she focused on improving the sustainability of food production systems, particularly within aquaculture.

During her PhD, Helen realized that she wanted to work in the aquaculture industry, seeing it as one of the best options for sustainably producing food. She joined BioMar in 2020 as a sustainability specialist and moved into a managerial role in 2022.

Helen’s work at BioMar has allowed her to be part of positive changes within the industry that she didn’t think were possible. She says that she feels like she has a real influence over the transformation of the industry. One of her achievements is the development of the BioSustain Life Cycle Assessment Tool, a tool that measures the environmental performance of BioMar’s products and helps customers make informed choices. Helen is also involved in various projects and initiatives that aim to reduce aquaculture’s environmental impact, and she presented at several conferences in 2023 the first LCA for Ecuadorian farmed shrimp.

Helen inspires many young women who want to pursue a career in aquaculture and sustainability. She says that her advice for them is to follow their passion, be curious, and never stop learning.