Dr. Steve Backman received his Diploma of Agricultural Science from Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 1982. He then attended the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College, where he received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1987, and a Diploma in Anatomic Pathology in 1989. Dr. Backman began his career in aquaculture as a Research and Extension Officer, working on a project for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food to convert tobacco farms to sustainable forms of food production.
From there he took the opportunity to return to the Maritimes, where he has held several positions for a multinational aquaculture company. Dr. Backman has served as a member of the National Aquatic Animal Health Program Steering Committee, the New Brunswick Fish Health Technical Committee and the New Brunswick Fish Health Policy Committee. He holds multiple veterinary licenses and memberships in a number of professional organizations, which include being Charter President of the Canadian Association of Aquatic Veterinarians, and Charter Secretary of the Eastern Aquatic Veterinary Association.
Dr. Backman is accredited by the USDA and serves as the IACUC veterinarian for the USDA Aquaculture Research Service in Maine.
He is an author of numerous scientific and technical publications and a frequent speaker at aquaculture conferences.
In 2003, he began Magellan Aqua Farms Inc., with his wife Ann, in Passamaquoddy Bay, employing sustainable techniques for the culture of bivalves and plants. In his spare time, he enjoys community volunteering and is a member of several community groups, as well as being the current President of the Charlotte County Hospital Foundation.
Ann Robinson, a native of St. Stephen, graduated from the University of New Brunswick Law School and began the practice of real estate and family law in her hometown. She has been practicing law for 30 years and over 17 of those are in the firm she founded. Ann co-founded Magellan Aqua Farms in 2003 with her husband, Steve Backman, where she served as legal counsel and farm technician.
Ann is also an active member of the community, serving on the Management Boards of Home Support Services Inc. and Lincourt Manor Nursing Home. She is also an active member and Past President of the local Kiwanis Club. She is currently volunteering as coordinator for the K kids (Milltown Elementary School), a service leadership program empowering young people to take an active role in their school and community. Ann is a recipient of the Mel Osborne Fellowship for exemplary service to the Club.
Jeremy started helping out his brother-in-law, Steve, on the scallop farm shortly after he married into the family in 2003. He was mostly lugging lines and getting dirty. His dive training started in 2012, when Steve handed him the PADI Open Water Crew Pack as a gift, or so he said. Little did Jeremy know Steve might have had an ulterior motive! It was a rough start and, after his first pool session, he was ready to quit but he pushed through and got hooked, mostly due to his wife’s encouragement. Thanks to that, he met a mentor, Malcolm “Mack” Sprague, who later became a great friend.
Jeremy has logged just over 250 dives, mostly on the farm in the Bay of Fundy. He still pulls a lot of lines and gets quite dirty but loves every minute of it. He has taken up under water filming and, with Steve’s help and Mack’s mentoring, he has become a PADI Dive-Master. Honestly, he just loves to help and loves being out on the water. Jeremy’s favorite part of diving comes with helping and teaching new divers; he has been the Dive Master on several courses both in the pool and check out dives. Jeremy is hoping to continue his training and become an instructor someday.
Alyssa Orchard came to us as a Marine Biology student from Memorial University of Newfoundland and quickly put her knowledge to practical use. Up for any task, Alyssa learned some aquaculture diving skills from Dive Master Jeremy and was a pleasure to have around on the farm. Alyssa completed her degree and is now working for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Ryan Orchard came to us as a Mechanical Engineering student attending the University of New Brunswick. Ryan was a very inquisitive student who was a true MacGyver; he was like having our own design and fabrication division all in one person. Ryan completed his engineering degree and is following in his aquaculture career working for an international aquaculture system company.
Sam Backman started working on the farm at the young age of 10. Some modern city folks would call this forced child labour; we rural folks just call it chores. Sam completed his Honours degree in Biology at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Thierry Chopin. His thesis was on the cultivation of the red seaweed Palmaria palmata (dulse). Sam is now completing his degree in Medicine.
Caroline Longtin came to us as a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Thierry Chopin from the University of New Brunswick. She also helped supervise Sam’s Honours degree in her spare time. Caroline’s dry sense of humor and extensive knowledge of her subject matter was invaluable and kept us on track. Caroline is now working as a Science Advisor at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Ottawa.
Since graduating from the University of New Brunswick in May 2010, Adrian Hamer had the opportunity to work with UNB and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2010 to 2012), as a technician and data analyst. From 2012 to 2017, he held the position of Project Manager for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) project, and of Network Manager for the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) strategic Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network (CIMTAN). Adrian is now working as an Aquatic Science Biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada in St. Andrews.