Hatchery International

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Top 10 Under 40: Nicole Bell

One for the team

October 28, 2022  By Jean Ko Din

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Bell, 27, decided to live on-site at the AquaBounty Canada hatchery in Rollo Bay, PEI.

She often worked alone or with minimal contact with other team members to ensure that everyone remained safe and socially-distanced. She had very few opportunities to visit family during this time, but she also had the company of her three beloved dogs.

(Photo: Nicole Bell)

Even with this challenge, Bell’s nominator and manager, Dawn Runighan, said that she developed a leadership role quickly. This earned her the title of Team Lead at the hatchery.

“Nicole (Bell) was hired by AquaBounty upon graduating Dalhousie University,” said Runighan. “She took her love of research and rearing fish and quickly became involved in every aspect of the organization that she could.”


In her short five years working at the hatchery, she became an advocate of Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) in the facility. She developed many Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the company and trained new team members.

Her favourite part of the job, of course, is working with the animals. Bell said that she originally studied Animal Science at Dalhousie to become a veterinarian. When she took an introduction to aquaculture course, she said her “mind was blown.”

“I was introduced to a whole new world I didn’t even know existed, and I was hooked,” she said. “My passion is a little intense and it shows in all the work I do, from research to animal husbandry!”

Bell is also the lead on many in-house research projects and has gained extensive experience in the care of broodstock and spawning procedures.

“My advice to anyone starting out in aquaculture is never be afraid to learn and try new things because you never know what you may discover about yourself,” she said.

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