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Looking forward

New head of MI’s School of Fisheries has clear goals in mind

Carey Bonnell is the new head of the Marine Institute’s School of Fisheries.

By Darcy MacRae

Carey Bonnell has a lot of reasons to be excited about his new job as head of the Marine Institute’s School of Fisheries. Most importantly, he sees the job as a way to give back to an industry and way of life that played a significant role in his upbringing.

“I was brought up in the fishery. I grew up going out in the boat with my grandfather and my uncle and I’m still very passionate about the industry,” said Mr. Bonnell, who was born and raised in Forrester's Point on Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. “It’s easy to get excited about something that’s always been a part of your life and something you want to see succeed. The School of Fisheries can play a huge role in helping the industry succeed.”

Although he is new to the position as head of the School of Fisheries, Mr. Bonnell has been associated with MI in one way or another since 1996, making the transition into his new post a little easier.

“It reduces the learning curve somewhat. There is still a lot to learn, but the experience helps,” he said. “I’ve seen firsthand the expertise that exists here. I saw in my previous roles that MI has the best and most comprehensive expertise in Canada when it comes to fisheries and aquaculture research and development, training and education.”

Mr. Bonnell said he already has some ideas for where he wants to take the School of Fisheries in the immediate future.

“I plan to focus much of my attention over the short term on our programs, both our in-house and community-based programs,” he said. “The quality of our programs is sound and the employability of the students who go through these programs is very high, they’re getting quality jobs. We need to increase regional, national and international awareness among high school and university students as to what they can achieve with a technology diploma/degree, an advanced diploma or a master's degree from MI.”

Mr. Bonnell first came to MI as a student in the fall of 1996 and completed a graduate diploma in fisheries development in 1997. After graduation he began working at the Marine Institute, both in St. John’s and via a one-year placement in the Philippines with MI International.

He left MI to assume the position of director of fisheries and sealing with the Nunavut Government in 2000 and eventually became the acting assistant deputy minister with the Nunavut Department of Environment. Throughout this time he worked closely with the Marine Institute to help develop fisheries research and training programs in the north.

When Mr. Bonnell returned to St. John’s in 2005 he began working for the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, an organization owned by Memorial University and housed at the Marine Institute. Serving first as an industrial liaison officer and later as the managing director, Mr. Bonnell found himself working closely with MI faculty and staff on a number of projects for the next four years.

“I went from being a student at the Marine Institute, to an employee of the Marine Institute to a client at MI. It is very gratifying to come back again in my new role,” he said. “One of the best decisions I made was to enrol at MI, it played a big hand in me getting here today. I’m a good example of how a Marine Institute education can really help you in terms of practical, applied expertise and ultimately preparing you for the workforce. That’s what MI is all about.”