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From left: Tom Taylor, chair for the ACFFA,  Leighanne Hawkins and Susan Farquharson, executive director for the ACFFA. Image: ACFFA.
From left: Tom Taylor, chair for the ACFFA, Leighanne Hawkins and Susan Farquharson, executive director for the ACFFA. Image: ACFFA.

A long-serving fish health professional has received the 2019 Atlantic Canada Aquaculture Award Aquaculture in recognition of her long-time contributions to the advancement of fish health in the region’s salmon aquaculture sector.

Dr Leighanne Hawkins of Cooke Aquaculture has worked in the field for 25 years. She graduated with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Atlantic Veterinary College in 1994, and in 2005 she took on the role of fish health manager for Cooke Aquaculture.

Hawkins received the award at the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association’s Annual Science, Research and Technology Forum and Charity Casino Gala this week in St Andrews, New Brunswick. The event raised $2,000 for the Charlotte County Cancer Society.

Loving fish farming

“I started loving fish farming because of my dad and my uncle, and I still love fish farming,” said Hawkins, whose father and uncle were both early salmon farmers in New Brunswick.

“Thank you to Cooke Aquaculture for believing in the east coast of Canada when no one else believed in the east coast. At a time when so many people and groups seem to be against aquaculture, it’s great to look out and see so many people who believe in fish farming and are dedicated to its sustainability.”

An indomitable force

“Dr Leighanne Hawkins is one of the most clinically experienced veterinarians in salmon aquaculture. She skilfully manages through the complex unknowns often encountered when dealing with fish health challenges experienced in aquaculture, and she does it with confidence and undiminishing passion,” said Tom Taylor, chair of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association.

“She is an indomitable force in this industry. Her colleagues respect her abilities, her farm clients value her advice, and her industry admires her ongoing significant contributions.”

Approximately 120 salmon farmers, industry stakeholders, scientists, researchers, provincial and federal government representatives, and community members attended ACFFA’s 2019 Forum at the Huntsman Fundy Discovery Centre.