Announcement of Resignation of CEO

Campbell River, BC – January 14, 2014 – The Board of the British Columbia Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences (BC CAHS) would like to  announce that Dr. Sonja Saksida will resign as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as of May 1st, 2014. In making this announcement, Board President, Jim Brackett, acknowledges the outstanding contribution Sonja has made to the growth and financial stability of BC CAHS during her four-year tenure:

“Dr. Saksida was appointed CEO at a time when the organization was young and developing.  Sonja and her team have developed BC CAHS into a recognized authority on marine environmental sustainability through management of wild and farmed fish interaction and disease management.” BC CAHS now employs 11 full-time staff and has an annual budget of $1.2 million. 

World class diagnostic procedures developed by Sonja and her team have put BC CAHS on the map as experts on fish health issues including sea lice, BKD (bacterial kidney disease), IHN (infectious hematopoietic necrosis disease) and Kudoa thyrsites. Sonja has authored dozens of peer-reviewed scientific publications and made presentations at scientific conferences across North America and world-wide, as well as for government including Fisheries Oceans Canada (DFO), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the US Department of State. 

“As a non-profit organization, financial success means we are able to give back to the community by developing new strategies to enhance the health of hatchery fish” explains Dr. Saksida. “The greatest reward of my work with BC CAHS is our partnership with the Quinsam hatchery. Our plankton surveys have helped us understand optimal fish release timing; we have also been involved in determining the incidence of BKD and other fish health issues as well as providing key support to the vibrio vaccination trial in hopes it will increase the ocean survival of our Coho salmon.”

“Sonja has been instrumental to accessing funding and scientific expertise.  The plankton surveys are recognized throughout DFO and are changing the way that we try to predict hatchery Coho survival, based on the food availability during their first weeks at sea” says Quinsam Hatchery Manager Dave Ewart. “She has earned universal respect in the aquaculture industry and is a true advocate for wild fish.”

Dr. Brackett will lead the recruitment for a new CEO through the spring, allowing for effective transition. “Under Sonja’s leadership, the staff at BC CAHS has become an amazingly productive and creative team that supports our plan for succession.” Staff member Elan Downey describes Sonja as “a mentor and leader, encouraging each of us to contribute and develop our individual strengths.”

The new CEO will inherit the wealth of partnerships established by Sonja including excellent personnel, clients, and scientific connections world-wide that have established BC CAHS as a leader in aquatic fish health. 

Further information about BC CAHS can be found at www.cahs-bc.ca.

Media Contacts:

BC CAHS: 

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