I built my first pond in the family home when I was 12 years old way back in the ‘swinging sixties’. After much love it remained, in tact, when the house was sold nearly fifty years later. This interest in fish keeping has been a constant feature of my life. It extended both into my academic and professional life.
A biologist by trade I was lucky enough to land my dream job within a week of graduation. I became a fish farmer for the leading Suffolk malting company, Muntons. After six months, I was promoted to Aquaculture Project Leader.
Muntons was lead by ‘Monty’ Baker- Munton, a man well ahead of his time. He was keen to develop novel ways of utilising industrial waste heat and set up three main development projects. These were centred around fish farming, aquaponic horticulture and a plant tissue culture laboratory.
I spent the next 15 years researching, designing , building and managing various recirculating fish systems. Running alongside was the development of a brand new carp smoking plant and the development of new table carp products.
At the time, we were one of the leading Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) in the country. I personally conducted many presentations and farm visits including taking part in the Institute of Fisheries Management annual training programme.
In 1988 I left Muntons to set up my own ornamental fish farm. I could see the potential rewards for rearing pond fish such as koi for the ornamental fish trade. A few years later we set up a Water Garden Centre as part of our marketing strategy.
Pressures of a young family, and continued high risk capital requirements, lead me reluctantly, to a change in career direction. In spite of an offer to complete a Masters at the legendary Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University . Instead I opted for a post graduate diploma in Conservation Management at the University of East Anglia. I was able to complete this whilst still being employed by Anglian Water. This gave me a unique opportunity to further my knowledge of water treatment. Helped enormously by sharing an office with the Supply Manager and Development Scientist based at Alton Water.
After nearly twenty very happy years I was fortunate enough to be able to retire early in 2015. This has rekindled my love for fish keeping and gave me the opportunity to starting writing a book on small-scale RAS. It was during this research that I rediscovered the exciting potential of aquaponics. This website is all about my journey through developing and promoting innovative and effective aquaponic systems. I’m very excited!