Core team

Rich Chapple, President

Image of Rich ChappleRich’s passion for the BC marine environment started as a boy with a tin boat and a fishing rod. After financing his university years as fishing guide (and marrying the sister of three) Rich raised his daughters on Quadra Island while building a long career managing high-end fishing resorts. He jokes (in part) of mending his karma in subsequent years as Executive Director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Commissioner for Canada at the Pacific Salmon Commission and on many salmon conservation-based planning and stewardship bodies. He is convinced that the lessons learned from First Nations’ approach to sustainable resource use quite simply hold the key to the survival of our planet.

Vicki Sahanatien, Program Director, Marine Planning & Conservation

Prior to joining CCIRA, Vicki has lived, studied and worked in the Arctic marine environment for the past 20 years. She has worked collaboratively with northern communities and a range of organizations, including Indigenous, territorial, federal and conservation groups on protected areas and wildlife management. A member of the Wahta First Nation in Ontario, Vicki has an in-depth understanding of Indigenous worldviews and knowledge systems, and direct experience in gathering and incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge for decision making. With more than two decades’ experience leading conservation programs and multi-disciplinary research teams, she has built many partnerships around common goals.

Charlotte Whitney, Program Director, Fisheries Management & Science

With more than ten years’ experience in fisheries science and management practice, Charlotte has applied her extensive research skills to diverse ecosystems, while building key partnerships with coastal and interior communities along with the way. Charlotte has worked to incorporate Indigenous perspectives on climate change adaptation strategies and regionally on marine protected areas (MPA) planning. She has also worked with the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) on climate change impacts and vulnerability assessment methods, and with the Pacific Salmon Foundation to expand the Pacific Salmon Explorer—an open access tool to support data-driven decision making for salmon populations and their habitats across BC.

Cindy Hanuse, Administrator

Image of Cindy HanuseCindy began her interests in Watershed Inventory Projects as a volunteer Streamkeeper in 1996 in the Comox Valley and later worked for 5 years as an Environmental Technician in Stream Mapping and Habitat Restoration. Cindy went on for 6 years to work for the Homalco Indian Band in Salmon Enhancement and Bear Viewing, the Klahoose Indian Band in Shellfish Aquaculture (Clams and Oysters), Aboriginal Journeys Bear Viewing and Adventure Tours, with Wuikinuxv Nation as the Fisheries Manager, and implemented the Wuikinuxv Guardian Watchman Program. Cindy attended North Island College for Applied Business Technology Office Skills and Vancouver Island University for the Essential Field Skills Certificate Program.

Alejandro Frid, Science Coordinator

Image of Alejandro FridAlejandro Frid received his PhD in biology from Simon Fraser University in 2006 and has been a research associate with the Prince William Sound Science Center and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Many of his ideas began to take shape while conducting field studies of sea turtles under risk of tiger sharks in Western Australia and while developing computer models of the behaviour of harbour seals at risk from sharks and killer whales in Alaska. He has also studied huemul deer in southern Chile and Dall’s sheep and caribou in the Yukon. Since 2008 his field studies have focused on lingcod, rockfish and other reef species in British Columbia.


Gord McGee, Marine Planner

Image of Gord McGeeGord McGee has worked on resource management issues with First Nations communities for over a decade. As a planner with the Provincial Government on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement and the Sacred Headwaters, as a consultant with the Kuna First Nations in Panama, and now for the four Central Coast First Nations of CCIRA. Gord holds a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management (Planning) from SFU and lives in Squamish, BC.

Tristan Blaine, Field Technician

Image of Tristan BlaineTristan has been working as a Field Technician and Commercial Diver since finishing his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Victoria. He is interested in underwater observation and image analysis in order to inform research and management decisions. Currently Tristan is working with the Central Coast Guardian Watchmen on stock assessment surveys, and spending as much time underwater as possible.

Madeleine McGreer, Fisheries Coordinator

Image of Madeleine McGreerMadeleine McGreer originally studied ecology to generate good research, but soon realized that good research must ultimately be applied to preserving and protecting the natural resources around us. She received her M.Sc from the University of Guelph in 2014, working with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource on woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). She has since applied her analytical skills to fisheries research with the CCIRA and is eager to promote community-driven, ecosystem-based management as part of the CCIRA team.

Anna Gerrard, Marine Implementation Coordinator (currently on leave)

Anna Gerrard smiles while out on the water on a sunny West Coast day.Anna was born and raised on the coast of BC and her career has included time spent working on groundfish with DFO, conducting spatial analysis for the Provincial Government, and working on some of the biggest industrial projects in BC at the BC Environmental Assessment Office. Her academic studies focused on ecology and resource management, which led to her research at the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University where she used traditional knowledge to study changes to herring spawning areas on the central coast. Anna has worked with CCIRA since 2016, and is so very excited to be working on the coast with four amazing communities to implement their marine plans.

Jean-Phillip Sargeant, Marine Response Coordinator

A headshot of Jean who has blonde hair and beard, a red plaid shirt, and is smiling with his teeth showing. The background is a grey sky and snowy mountains. The metal rim and ropes directly behind him suggest he's on a boat.

Jean has a passion for resource management and the marine environment. After graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in geography he spent time abroad to acquire a graduate degree in coastal and marine resource management. Jean has had the opportunity to work on the development of marine protected areas, cumulative effects and marine spatial planning over the past 5 years. Most recently Jean spent time as a Marine Planner for the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society. Jean is really excited to continue working on marine management as the interim Marine Response Coordinator for CCIRA.

Michael Vegh, Indigenous Laws Coordinator

Michael has a dark brown beard, and is wearing a grey cap and blue SFU hoodie. The ocean is visible directly behind him. He is smiling widely.

Michael Vegh is from the Heiltsuk First Nation. After completing his Bachelor of Environment degree in 2018, he joined CCIRA to further his passion for Indigenous stewardship. Throughout his young professional career, Michael has held executive roles within numerous Indigenous organizations, completed multiple field biologist positions within his traditional territory, and has developed policy at both the National and regional scale to advance Indigenous-led resource management.

Desiree Lawson, MaPP Implementation Coordinator

Desiree is Haíɫzaqv and lives in her home territory in Bella Bella. She is passionate about supporting the Nations as they assert inherent Rights and Title by practicing ancestral laws, and she understands the importance of Indigenous stewardship and the need to respect all living beings. In 2017, Desiree graduated with a degree in Natural Resource Protection from VIU, and had previously received a diploma in Resource Management Officer Technology. The experience Desiree received from the Haíɫzaqv Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD) in numerous planning roles, and as a Guardian Watchman, provided great knowledge of Indigenous governance, laws and stewardship.

Nicole Kaechele, Marine Implementation Coordinator

Nicole has worked for more than a decade with communities, organizations and governments in areas of strategic planning, project analysis and management, facilitation and knowledge translation. She is passionate about working with people—in the places they live and on issues that matter most to them. Nicole has experience working with and for Indigenous governments and organizations, and other government agencies, legal firms and research institutions. She has facilitated multi-stakeholder groups at local and national scales, and has managed several community-engaged research projects—often supporting knowledge translation between larger institutions and remote communities. Nicole has lived and worked from BC’s North and Central Coasts since 2011.