Fisheries consultant volunteers and consults overseas

- January 31, 2005

Fraser with directors
Don Fraser is pictured sitting with directors of the Negril Fishing Cooperative in a makeshift boardroom on a Jamaican beach.

Shortly after arriving at the Montego Bay airport, Don and Monica Fraser of Musquodoboit Harbour joked that the airline must have liked their luggage. In the end, the airline kept the luggage for three days. That was only the beginning of a comedy of errors.

The people picking them up at the airport were a no show. The Frasers had to beg for the use of a telephone, and several calls and four hours later, the people finally arrived. Once safely delivered at their destination, they found that the hotel had sporadic power outages and no air conditioning.

These circumstances marked the beginning of Don Fraser's second international Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) assignment in Jamaica.

Such delays and problems are not a common occurrence in Jamaica. The country was recovering from Hurricane Ivan, which paid a visit only days before. Time has taught Don the art of patience and quiet persistence. With over 30 years of experience in directing fisheries development projects in Canada and over 75 countries, Don Fraser (BSc '59 and BEng-Mech '61) is used to working through delays and set backs.

In 1998 after selling his successful export consulting company, which specialized in international fisheries development, Don knew that retirement brought more opportunities to continue doing what he loves - working with companies from all over the world, and specializing in building fishery infrastructure. "I thought that as a good marketer that I could contribute to CESO", says Fraser.

CESO is made up of more than 3,500 semi- or retired volunteers who donate their time, talents and experience to help others in developing nations and throughout Canada. For him, it was a natural fit. "Don is a great asset, not only to the organization but to the region," says Brian Smith, Regional Manager of the CESO Atlantic Office. "He's always there when you need him and is always looking for ways he can help," says Smith.

To date, he has completed two international assignments for CESO (in Jamaica and the Philippines) and four assignments in Aboriginal communities.

In Jamaica, he worked with the Negril Fishing Co-operative setting up fisheries infrastructure, while his wife Monica assisted in restoring a school that had been depleted of basic supplies. Monica has traveled with Don to a couple of CESO assignments. In fact, it was during his years of extensive traveling that he first met Monica, working in Guyana.

As his career eventually led him to other countries, he discovered his interest in working across cultures. "I like to learn what they think and about their traditional systems, which can influence their decisions. This can make you understand how they tend to think differently than us," he says.

"Don really loves what he's doing and it shows," adds Smith. You can always count on Don offering his expertise whether it is across the continent or close to home - to him there are no borders.

His latest, and perhaps most challenging, project is still in the development phase. He is offering his expertise in Sri Lanka in a coastal area that has been devastated by the tsunami impact. He is participating on a team that has expressed interest in helping the fishing industry get back on its feet.

CESO is always looking for volunteers with all types of expertise and specific skills. If this interests you, contact:

Brian Smith, Regional Manager
CESO Atlantic


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