Meet Véronique Gilain, a member of our Board of Directors
Meet Véronique Gilain, a member of the Quebec advisory committee.
While most ASCF volunteers were born somewhere close to the waterbodies where Atlantic salmon reside, Gilain was born in what is today known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At age six, her family moved to Montreal and for the past 30 years she has resided on the North Shore.
Gilain is an avid scholar, earning degrees (three of them master’s degrees) in fields such as engineering, environmental management, telecommunications and project management. She started her own project management business in 1998 and, shortly after moving to the North Shore, she took up salmon fishing.
“There’s many rivers in the area where I live, that’s why I started salmon fishing,” said Gilain. “It became a passion for me.”
At the same time, her business partners were also involved in salmon fishing and salmon protection efforts, and she ended up working with efforts to analyze the socio-economic impact of river enhancement projects. That was how she connected with the ASCF and in 2019 she became a volunteer on the advisory committee.
“There have been many projects on the North Shore in the past three years. All of them had good potential for protecting Atlantic salmon. When I analyze a project from an impact point of view, I’m more interested in projects that are done on the river itself, compared to projects that are aimed at providing information on the salmon situation on the rivers. For me, educational and information projects are required, but on a short-term basis might have a lesser impact on the salmon situation.”
One such project was an effort to increase the salmon population in the La Romaine River, carried out in conjunction with Hydro Quebec with the support of the local Innu community.
“To me that’s a very interesting project because everyone involved in that river rehabilitation identified that as a priority and they were able to get some funding from the ASCF and a lot more from partners. They produced a lot of young salmon that were reintroduced to the river. It will hopefully have a very positive impact on the salmon population in that river.”
Gilain says that the ASCF makes many projects possible that would not have materialized otherwise. She’s also heartened to see how many projects having funding from other sources beyond the ASCF, which demonstrates more broad community support for their efforts.
“To me, that shows that the promoters have been doing their homework to find funding and to involve different organizations into the projects to make it successful.”
Gilain’s time with the ASCF has largely been during the COVID-19 pandemic so she has yet to meet her fellow committee members in person. But she is looking forward to in-person meetings in the future and has greatly enjoyed learning from her fellow committee members via webcam.
“The ASCF members are pretty representative of the territory covered in Quebec for the funding. All together, we know pretty well the rivers and the organizations that submit projects and we’re able to make a better analysis of what has been submitted.”