Saturday, January 9, 2010

'Water Re-Use for Intensive Fish Culture' Short-Course: Bar Harbor, Maine

In the summer of 2009 I had the opportunity to attend two different aquaculture short-courses, weeklong seminars given by professionals and researchers in the aquaculture world. The first of these courses was offered by The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute over a week in early July.

Though the Freshwater Institute is located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the course was held in Bar Harbor, Maine, a cozy and quaint new England town of about 5000 people. However, during the summer months, Bar Harbor swells with the influx of tourists, flocking to the area to take in the beautiful scenery or cozy village life.

I arrived in Bar Harbor on a Friday even though the course did not start until Monday. I had just returned to the States from my travels in Israel, and even after a day of recuperation in a hotel room in New York City, I wanted a few extra days to get over the jet lag and take in the sights.

Upon my arrival in Bar Harbor, I put my belongings in my hotel room and caught one of the free community buses into the City Centre. I was impressed by the cleanliness and hospitality of the town, and I was greatly looking forward to spending some time in this beautiful place while I learned about aquaculture.

The courses themselves focused on in-land, recirculating systems: their design, maintenance, and operation. Personally, I am fascinated by these recirculation systems, as they may provide a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to fish farming.

The course was team-taught by several members of the Freshwater Institute, including Drs. Steve Summerfelt and Brian Vinci, two of the leading researchers in the field of recirculation. Both of these men, along with another two individuals from the Institute, spent approx. eight hours with us every day, exposing the students to all the different facets and challenges of this incredible technology.

The other students in the course were professionals in the field, mostly managers of fish hatcheries that wanted to learn more about the technology that they were utilizing every day. I was by far the youngest attendant, and when it became clear that I was not yet in the field but rather preparing for my entry, I became something of a celebrity. People were fascinated by what I had already accomplished at such a young age, and I received a great deal of praise for taking the initiative to create change in a struggling industry.

Overall, the lessons that I learned during my time in Bar Harbor were vital to my ultimate success in this field. I made several invaluable industry contacts while there, as well as formed several friendships that I hope will continue well into the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment