Farewell from President & CEO, John Wood

It has been eight years since I joined Freshwater ~ eight interesting years that have flown by as each day brought different decisions to be made, issues to resolve or opportunities to leverage.

Before I arrived at Freshwater in 2006, I had spent almost 30 years in the food processing industry, holding senior positions with agricultural, poultry, dairy and other areas of agricultural production around the world, yet none of this experience entirely prepared me for working at Freshwater Fish. The diversity of the people and issues I have experienced in my time at Freshwater was both unexpected and invigorating.

My office was in Winnipeg, but my favourite place to spend time has been out around the fishery, meeting with fishers and experiencing the Canadian North. I have enjoyed the privilege of speaking with hundreds of fishers, whether at meetings in their local communities or at our head office in Winnipeg.

While there is some debate about Freshwater’s role in the fishery, one thing is certain: for nearly five decades Freshwater has become a name that stands for quality Canadian fish products in the global marketplace.

During my time, we have successfully developed new markets in places like Russia, Ukraine and Israel. We have introduced new food options to traditional markets in New York and Finland, and opened entirely new markets in Romania and China.

Investment in the plant has been necessary to ensure its reliability, to improve efficiency and, most importantly, to meet the requirements of our customers for quality, safety and security. Going forward, business growth and profitability will require increasing innovation in the development of value-added products and investment in the plant. Operating systems will need to focus on further gains in efficiency.

I have worked with two excellent Board chairmen, many dedicated Board directors and executive and management teams made-up of skilled professionals. In truth, Freshwater is staffed with great people whose working lives are focused on Freshwater and the important contribution it makes to the fishery and the lives of fishers.

I have many great memories from my time at Freshwater.

The Western Canadian inland fishery is the largest freshwater fishery in the world, sustained by hundreds of the most pristine lakes in the world. I’m proud to be able to say that I have been a part of this unique industry.

Thank you for eight memorable years.