Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation member Rudy Dick has been with Grieg Seafood for over 10 years with no plans of leaving any time soon.
As an Aquaculture Technician, a typical day on Grieg’s Muchalaht North farm off Vancouver Island includes environmental monitoring, loading feed silos, and general site maintenance to ensure the site is operating optimally – and safely.
“I protect nature by doing my job properly and by making sure everything around the farm is safe and secure to prevent accidents like escapes,” Rudy explains. “When you’re working out in the open with Mother Nature, you’re protecting her. You’re keeping both sides safe.”
Rudy loves his job, and as a veteran Indigenous worker at Grieg, he says he’s seeing more First Nations people entering aquaculture.
“These last couple of years, more and more of our First Nations are being hired,” he says. “It took a while for these new hires to get their feet in the door because they were unsure about working (in fish farming), but for me it was a no brainer. I lived in a rural community without much full-time, year-round work.”
“My first reason for getting into aquaculture was for employment, but the second reason was to find out if what I heard on the outside was true, but it’s not; it’s different from what they say.”
Part of Rudy’s responsibility is to train new hires, which he says is his favourite part. Training new workers sets them up to succeed while ensuring the work they do is done properly and carefully. He is also seeing more First Nations workers entering aquaculture with college training and more applicable skills than in the past. This gives him hope that more Indigenous workers will join the industry.
“Right now, most of them are still in the learning stage. As they gain more experience, they will eventually see what I see – that their role is not only as a worker, but also as a protector of Mother Nature. You learn to appreciate that part, and I love it.”
“It’s been a great 10 years with Grieg, and I’m looking forward to the next 15.”