Volunteer Profile – Al McNeillSeptember 3, 2015
Meet Al McNeill, the chair of the NS Advisory Committee.
McNeill is the Manager of Resource Management for the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture. He works in the Inland Fisheries Division in Pictou. After graduating from the University of Guelph in 1983, McNeill worked for four years with DFO in Halifax. In 1988 he switched over to the province where he worked as a fisheries technician, and biologist on a number of sportfish species including trout, landlocked salmon and small mouth bass.
In 2001, Al accepted a secondment with the Aquaculture Division in Halifax where he spent four years as Aquaculture Manager and Acting Director helping to develop the finfish and shellfish aquaculture industries, and was responsible for initiating the Environmental Monitoring Program for Marine Aquaculture. For his efforts as project manager of the Environmental Monitoring Program, Al won the Premiers Award of Excellence in 2007.
McNeill’s current responsibilities include leading a team of fisheries biologists, technicians, promotion and development officers who are tasked with managing the provinces recreational fishery, worth an estimated 58 million dollars.
McNeill has been involved with the ASCF since its inception.
“I’m really impressed with the professionalism of the executive of the ASCF, and how the foundation is run,” he said. “We had some lean times in 2007/08 when the market collapsed and the Endowment lost money – along with everyone else – but we never lost sight of our goals and now we are beginning to see more funds available to volunteer organizations to do restoration and watershed planning work. The members of the Nova Scotia Advisory Committee are passionate about salmon conservation and challenge the foundation leadership to make sure Nova Scotia gets its share of the funding – I expect the other provincial advisory committees do the same – we all want the most for our salmon!”
McNeill believes the greatest work done by the ASCF is on the ground – in the rivers across Atlantic Canada.
“If you are passionate about saving Atlantic salmon, join a watershed association, or Atlantic Salmon Association affiliate and get involved. Encourage them to submit a proposal to the ASCF. The competition is tough –we see a lot of applications each year and virtually all of them are thoughtful, well developed proposals for meaningful projects – but we just can’t fund them all. That’s the only downside of my involvement, but as the fund grows, we’ll have more opportunity to include more projects each year.”
Volunteers are crucial to the work ASCF does, and each month we will introduce you to one of our stellar volunteers to say thank you for all the work they do in Atlantic salmon conservation.