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Dawn Mercer

Senior Biologist, Oceans and Habitat Management Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Dawn Mercer completed an advanced diploma in Fisheries Management at the Marine Institute and a Bachelor of Science at Memorial majoring in geography. She began her Masters at Dalhousie University in maritime studies but did not complete it and is interested in finishing it at MUN. When Dawn completed her diploma at the Marine Institute her contacts at Memorial got her interested in ocean and coastal management. Through these contacts she was able to get a job on inland integrated management (IM) for a Model Forest on the west coast of Newfoundland. Dawn found that her geography degree was helpful for this job as she was drawing on her economic and cultural knowledge along with her physical geography background. After working with the Model Forest she started a job with the Department of Fisheries at an opportune time as the Oceans Act was just being formed. Dawn emphasized that her geography and IM background enabled her to have the skills for this job as it required a balance of biophysical and socioeconomic knowledge.

Dawn’s current job at the Department of Fisheries is as senior biologist, where she is the Placentia Bay/Grand Banks Large Ocean Management (LOMA) coordinator. She began working in this area as a coastal coordinator but now she is also doing offshore work. Her job involves management work behind the desk but a much larger portion is external work with stakeholders. She works with stakeholders in many different capacities such one-on-one meetings, focus groups and public consultations. Currently she is working on an IM plan for the entire LOMA which involves different aspects such as biomass, and issues on conserving stocks.
Dawn’s main advice to those graduating from geography is the importance of keeping the contacts you make while completing your degree because they may help you find a job in the future, or help you with a job you obtain. Dawn also stressed the importance of putting yourself out into the job market, whether it was by creating a job yourself if you see the opportunity, or being assertive in order to achieve the job you want.