Gideon Pringle pictured during his spell as production director with Mowi Scotland. Photo: Mowi.
Gideon Pringle pictured during his spell as production director with Mowi Scotland. Photo: Mowi.

Pringle named as new boss of Mowi Canada East

Experienced fish farmer Gideon Pringle has been named as the new managing director of Mowi Canada East following the departure of Alan Cook, who was in charge Mowi’s Atlantic Canada operation from September 2020 until last week.

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It will be Pringle’s third spell with Mowi. He first worked for Mowi Scotland as freshwater and broodstock manager from 2004-2011, before leaving to becoming farming director for Scottish salmonid producer Dawnfresh.

He re-joined Mowi Scotland as production director from 2016-2020, before becoming farming director for Scottish Sea Farms. He has been operations director for Loch Duart Salmon since the beginning of this year.

Ben Hadfield sees opportunity as well as challenges in Atlantic Canada. File photo: Mowi.
Ben Hadfield sees opportunity as well as challenges in Atlantic Canada. File photo: Mowi.

‘The same challenges’ 

His appointment coincides with a shake-up which divides overall control of Mowi’s east and west coast Canadian operations.

Ben Hadfield, chief operating officer for Mowi’s Scotland, Ireland, and Faroe Islands operations, is now also COO for Mowi Canada East, giving him oversight of Atlantic operations. Fernando Villarroel, who was in charge of Mowi’s operations in the Americas, stays in overall control of Mowi Canada West and Mowi Chile – the company’s Pacific operations.

“Both Canada East and Scotland share the North Atlantic Ocean and, not surprisingly, also share many of the same farming challenges,” said Pringle, who has a degree in marine and fisheries biology and a PhD in salmon genetics, both from Aberdeen University.

“During my time in the aquaculture sector, I have come to realise that there is no single formula about how to farm salmon – they can be farmed in many different ways, equally successfully. The key is to be knowledgeable, adaptable and most importantly have the best team of people. I am very happy to re-join Mowi and be a part of this very motivated team that will lead Canada East to realise its full potential.”

Strong team

Hadfield said: “We have a strong team in Canada East, and we also have the added advantage at Mowi to augment and support our operations with experienced salmon farmers.

“I believe we now have established the best possible team that will work hard and smart, safely and at pace to realise the success we know is possible in Canada East and specifically the southern coast of Newfoundland.”

Hot summers and cold winters make salmon farming challenging in Newfoundland, where Mowi Canada East has some of its farms, and the company has experienced several environmental and biological setbacks since the acquisition of Northern Harvest in 2018.

Mowi has temporarily reduced smolt stocking there to ensure proper biological control before returning to its planned growth trajectory. The company has many unused licences in the region and says there is a significant potential for growth in the coming years.

Real opportunity

“Atlantic Canada’s extreme coastal water temperatures are a challenge to fish for sure, but these temperatures and such vast geography also create real opportunity for our company, our employees, and the communities in which salmon farming is a valued and integral part of society,” said Hadfield.

Pringle is not the only fish farmer from Scotland recruited to Mowi Canada East. Kris Laird, who moved from Mowi’s operation in the Western Isles in January, has been names seawater production director.

Pringle was announced as Mowi Canada East MD during a company-wide meeting with all staff held last week and will move to Canada immediately following receipt of required Canadian work permits.

Canada East human resources manager Kristina White will act as interim MD until Pringle’s arrival.