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Meet Canh Nguyen, Fisheries Methods and Equipment Specialist

June 15, 2021

Part of the series, Faces of the Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Canh Nguyen has a long history with turtle excluder devices in the shrimp fishery. He provides outreach about TEDs to the shrimping community--in English and Vietnamese.

Canh Nguyen demonstrating how to sew on a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Flap during a TED building workshop. Canh Nguyen demonstrating how to sew on a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Flap during a TED building workshop. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Where did you grow up? 

My parents emigrated from South Vietnam and settled in Abbeville. It is a small town near the central coast of Louisiana, where I was born and raised.

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Canh Nguyen shrimping on his family's shrimp boat in the early 90's.
Canh Nguyen shrimping on his family's shrimp boat in the early 90's. Credit: Photo courtesy of Canh Nguyen.

How did you come to work at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center? 

Prior to working at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, I attended University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a major in Business Systems Analysis Technologies for 3 years. Circumstances forced me to leave college and continue the family shrimping business. I continued to work as a commercial shrimper in Louisiana for the next 10 years. During a routine TED check, I met Mr. Dale Stevens from the science center’s Gear Monitoring Team and during our interaction learned more about NOAA. I was intrigued at all the research and ingenuity done with the turtle excluder devices, something I have personally worked with throughout my years as a shrimper. When a position within the Gear Monitoring Team became available, I knew I would be a perfect fit for the role. I had a unique skill set, I’m bilingual in Vietnamese and English, and had 15 years of working with TEDs. In 2016, I got the opportunity to work with NOAA and I have been part of the Gear Monitoring Team since.

What do you do at the Science Center? 

I am a Fisheries Methods and Equipment Specialist and Gear Monitoring Team Leader. My work consists of providing TED outreach to the shrimping industry. For the community I conduct at-sea and dockside courtesy inspections and building workshops. I also conduct inspection training for federal and state law enforcement along the entire Southeast region.  

Canh is featured in this short video discussing the importance of turtle excluder devices, how they work, and compliance.

What do you like most about your position? 

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Canh Nguyen holds a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle during permitted work testing a turtle excluder device off the coast of Panama City, Florida.
Canh Nguyen holds a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle during permitted work testing a turtle excluder device off the coast of Panama City, Florida. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Because of my shrimping background, I really like that my position heavily involves working with the shrimping industry. I get to share both my former experiences as a shrimper and the knowledge I have gained working on the job. 

Personally, the most rewarding part of my position is doing outreach within the Vietnamese shrimping community. As a large portion of the shrimping industry is of Vietnamese background, being fluent in both English and Vietnamese is extremely beneficial in the job that I do. As a child, I saw firsthand how challenging it was for my dad to try to remain compliant with federal regulations because he wasn’t fluent in English. I remember struggling to translate shrimping regulations from English to Vietnamese at a young age. So with my current role within NOAA, it’s an extremely rewarding feeling to fluently speak Vietnamese in order to extend outreach efforts to Vietnamese fishing communities. 

What do you like to do outside of work?

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The Nguyen family.
The Nguyen family. Credit: Photo courtesy of Canh Nguyen.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family.  My current hobby is surf fishing. I am fairly new to it but am really enjoying it. I get to fish and my family gets to enjoy a nice day at the beach. It’s a win-win for everyone.  

View Canh's contact card

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on July 15, 2021