From one island to another, hatchery tech is content

October 30 2017 - Quadra Island, B.C.

By Gina Forsyth

Almost three years ago, Hatchery Technician Phyllis Frankland made the move from the east coast to the west coast to join the team at Dalrymple hatchery, north of Campbell River. It’s a change she loves.

Born in Grand Manaan, New Brunswick, Phyllis did a year of Arts and Sciences at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia after high school and followed up with a 16 month aquaculture course at St. Andrew’s Community College in New Brunswick.

“I’ve always had an interest in animals and science,” says Phyllis.

Following her post-secondary education, Phyllis worked at a hatchery for a year and then moved onto the Atlantic Salmon Federation for four years, where she did studies of salmon families and strains as well as feeding habits.

“It taught me to always be looking for things out of the ordinary,” she says.

After a car accident that required six month’s rehabilitation, Phyllis started a home-based business smoking salmon. For a decade she operated as a retailer and her clients included the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. In addition, Phyllis teamed up with a kayaking company and cooked salmon on the beach for the kayaking clients.

In 2004, Phyllis moved to Guelph, Ontario, where she had family. A decade later she returned to New Brunswick to work, but full-time permanent jobs were difficult to find. She vaccinated fish and also worked for Connors Brothers, doing quality control in a sardine factory. A former aquaculture teacher told her that representatives from Marine Harvest were coming to the area to recruit workers for the Campbell River area. Phyllis was hired!

“I took a chance, gave away my possessions and drove across country,” she says.

After a year of assisting wherever she was needed, Phyllis moved into first feeding, where she remains. She monitors water flow in the tanks and carefully observes fish behaviour. There’s also daily data recording, including feed amounts and water quality.

“We remove the poor performers early, which requires a good eye, and are also diligent with feeding. We want to give as many fish as possible the best possible start,” Phyllis says.

Phyllis lives on a beach front cottage on Quadra Island and loves the community spirit and friendliness on the island.

“It’s very social and everybody helps everybody,” she enthuses.

When she’s away from work, Phyllis collects beach wood and paints inspirational sayings on them to give away as gifts. She also plays hand drums regularly and can be found at many musical events.