John Risley, OC
is a Canadian businessman with major financial interests in fisheries, food supplements, and communications. Based in Chester, Nova Scotia, he is one of the 100 richest people in Canada. His wealth in 2009 was estimated to be $830 million.
Early life and career
He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of an insurance broker. He never attended university, instead choosing a career in real estate. By 1976 he was struggling through a housing slump and with his brother-in-law, Colin MacDonald he took a gamble in opening a lobster business in Bedford, Nova Scotia.
Clearwater Fine Foods
Within ten years of its founding in 1976, Clearwater had grown into one the of the largest international food fish businesses by specializing in high return products including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp and crab, which it air-freights around the world. It is the largest holder of rights in Canada for each of these shellfish species and by 2008, it owned the rights to all offshore lobster fished in offshore Atlantic Canadian waters and all Arctic surf clam
The surf clam, Spisula solida, is a medium sized marine clam or bivalve mollusc. Up to 5 cm long, like many clams it is a sediment-burrowing filter feeder.This species of clam is found at scattered locations around the British and Irish coasts....
s. By 2008, the fleet included ten factory freezers (the largest such fleet in Canada) and the entire international fleet totalled 21 vessels. Its Argentinian fleet fishes Antarctic scallop.
The business became an income trust in 2002 at which time Risley turned the business over to Colin MacDonald. The trust had not paid dividends since 2005 and in August 2008 the company went private and was nearly ruined by the stock market failure later that year.
Ocean Nutrition Canada
His company is the major shareholder in Ocean Nutrition Canada
Ocean Nutrition Canada , a subsidiary of Clearwater Fine Foods, the world’s largest Omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid docosahexaenoic acid solutions provider, has a pioneering approach to wellness through innovation...
, which he founded in 1997 as a manufacturer of fish oil-derived dietary supplements. Headquartered and with R&D offices in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dartmouth founded in 1750, is a community and planning area of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour, Dartmouth has been nicknamed the City of Lakes after the large number of lakes located in the city.On April 1, 1996, the provincial...
, it has manufacturing facilities in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia
Mulgrave is a small town on the Strait of Canso in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Canada; immediately across from the town of Port Hawkesbury. As of 2006 the population was 879....
, Arcadia, Wisconsin
Arcadia is a city in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, along the Trempealeau River. The population was 2,925 at the 2010 census. It is the largest city in Trempealeau county.-History:...
, and in Peru. It is the world's largest producer of omega-3 fatty acids.
In 2010 the company announced the accidental discovery of ONC T18 B, the most prolific strain of oil-producing algae known, which appears capable of producing oil at a rate 60 times greater than other types of algae being used for the generation of biofuels. It has embarked on a four-year R&D program to determine whether the algae is a viable a fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...
Risley is a shareholder in Columbus Communications
Columbus Communications is a cable television and telecommunications company based in Freeport, Bahamas, serving markets in the Caribbean and Latin America....
, a Caribbean cable television and Internet provider which he co-founded in 2004. He entered the business with Michael Lee-Chin
The Honourable Michael Lee-Chin, OJ is a Jamaican-Canadian investor. He is the founder and Chairman of Portland Holdings Inc., a privately held investment company which owns a collection of diversified operating companies in sectors that include media, tourism, health care telecommunications and...
of Toronto. He is a board member of the company which is based in Freeport, Bahamas
Freeport is a city, district and free trade zone located on the island of Grand Bahama of the North-west Bahamas. In 1955, Wallace Groves, a Virginian financier with lumber interests in Grand Bahama, was granted 50,000 acres Freeport is a city, district and free trade zone located on the island of...
Corporate fleet and staff
His business maintains a small fleet of aircraft. In 2003, the fleet consisted of a Hawker 800XP and a King Air 350. The company then purchased a Bell 427
|-See also:-References:* . Bell Helicopter-External links:*...
, sold the Hawker and hired four contract pilots.
His wife is the former Judy MacDonald of Halifax. They have one daughter. His brother is the Halifax restaurateur, caterer and hotelier Robert Risley. The Risley home overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on a 91-acre property formerly owned by Joseph N. Pew, Jr.
Joseph Newton Pew, Jr. was an American industrialist and influential member of the Republican Party.-Early life:...
, founder of Sunoco. After purchasing the property, Risley added another 210 acres to the estate. Besides a mansion, he has a barn with cows purchased from the Rockefeller family and his horses include Dutch Warmblood
A Dutch Warmblood is a warmblood type of horse registered with the Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland A Dutch Warmblood is a warmblood type of horse registered with the Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland A Dutch Warmblood is a warmblood type of horse registered with the...
s, which he shows.
In 2010 his daughter Sarah married Guy Barnett, a British sailor and deckhand on Risley's staff. For their honeymoon, the couple flew to Bennet's home port of Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon. It is a tourist destination set on the banks of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as Totnes...
, England where they stayed aboard the 247-foot Northern Star
Northern Star is the first solo album released by Spice Girl Melanie C. It was released in 1999. The album contains significant elements of rock music, which contrasted with the pop sound of the Spice Girls...
, chartered for them by John Risley at a cost of £533,000 a week.
Risley was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.