PIERS HARTTo examine commercial hatchery and growout techniques for flatfish, particularly the use of cages - Japan, Norway, Spain, UK, France
I began fish farming in England in 1979 after growing up in London. After a year on a trout farm I went to Plymouth to study for a BSc(Hons) in Fishery Science before continuing my trout farming career in various managerial positions. In 1987 I left England for Australia on a backpacking holiday and ended up trout farming in Tasmania before joining the University of Tasmania in the Department of Aquaculture in Launceston as a tutor and then Lecturer. I completed my PhD on flounder hatchery production while lecturing and completed my Churchill Fellowship shortly afterwards.
In 1997 I joined the newly formed Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI) in Hobart to manage the aquaculture research on striped trumpeter and rock lobsters until 2000 when I left to farm abalone on the Mainland in Victoria. In 2002 I started my own consultancy and developed a curriculum for an Applied Aquaculture Degree at NMIT in Melbourne before heading back to the UK in 2003 where I worked for a number of different organisations mainly as a consultant, until 2009.
In 2009 I joined the WWF to help develop the environmental and social certification standards for Aquaculture through the Aquaculture Dialogues and I am still with WWF in 2013.
I travelled first to Madrid in the midst of winter and out to the coast of Galicia in the North West to visit a number of turbot and sea bass hatcheries and then got a bus north up the Atlantic coast to Bordeaux where I arrived at 2 am with nowhere to stay until the next bus arrived at 8am! I travelled further north to La Rochelle and had a wonderful fish dinner. From there I visited two turbot and sea bass farms on the sandy islands of Ile d’Oleron and Ile de Noirmoutier before staying in Nantes and on to IFREMER at Brest. From there I travelled to the base of the Cherbourg Peninsular to visit a recirculating system and a unique cage farm for turbot near Treguier and on to Paris.
After France I travelled to Norway and visited the research station at Austevoll near Bergen where I gave a presentation, and a halibut farm. After that I took a beautiful ferry journey around the coast to a turbot farm in the South using warm water from a power station. From Norway I took the ferry to Denmark to visit the fascinating turbot farm Maximus and a few eel recirculation systems before getting the ferry to the UK and Scotland to give a presentation at the research station at Ardtoe on the west coast where they were pioneering halibut research in the UK. I travelled south to visit a turbot farm on the Isle of Man and the research station at Conway and on to London.
After the UK I spent a fascinating two weeks traveling around Japan where I saw some amazing sights and visited some very interesting and very different Japanese fish hatcheries and research institutions before heading back to Australia. Seeing the contrast between Japan and Europe was one of the outstanding experiences for me.
All in all it was an absolutely fantastic trip and an amazing opportunity and the memories and experiences are still very much alive in my mind now after all this time.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
When I got back to Tasmania I was able to put into practice many of the ideas I had gleaned from my experiences in Europe and Japan. I produced a report and a number of articles for Austasia Aquaculture magazine and incorporated my fellowship, this was also reflected in my lectures.
Although flatfish aquaculture did not take off in Tasmania the techniques for marine fish larviculture were very similar for other species that I worked with at TAFI and later. Perhaps as importantly as the information were the contacts I made many of whom I’m still in contact with today.