Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Autumnal Musings

The leaves around here are prematurely turning brown as a result of all the salt water that was blown off the ocean onto the island from Tropical Storm Irene last week. The temps have yet to get back above 80 degrees F. where they were just days before the storm. Such fall-like elements makes one believe the seasons have changed. It also doesn't help that I'm writing stories for the October issue of Hatchery International.

I live on the Island of Martha's Vineyard, known the world-wide for it's presidential and Hollywood celeb summer visitors, rather than it's young and growing aquaculture sector. But aquaculturists abound on the island, just a 45-minute ride from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

I'm a journalist with over 15-years experience in print, online, and radio broadcast news. I decided just a few years into my career that I wanted to end up writing about, what was back then, just a young, and slightly obscure, seafood production industry--aquaculture. After a long delay, due in part to a deadly car accident I survived in 2002 and the subsequent recovery, I have finally found my place in the small aquaculture journalism community.

Thanks to luck, timing, and a publisher willing to take a risk or two, I am now the single US-based writer for two specialty publications covering the international aquaculture industry--Aquaculture North America and Hatchery International. Both publications are published by Capamara Communications. OK, now that I've re-introduced myself, lets get down to business.

For the next issue of Hatchery International, I am working on nearly 10 pieces that cover hatchery news from California to New England, South Africa to Croatia and beyond. One story is about national fish hatcheries in Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia that sustained damage during the weather events surrounding Hurricane Irene. We will look at the impact of the storm on these hatcheries and what it means to the annual output of the regional hatchery system.

Another story looks at one of South Africa's largest abalone hatchery and farms--AbaGold. The company recently got an injection of $53 million in capital funding to expand its hatchery and farm operations. Abagold's existing hatchery provides a solid foundation for the cultivation of its abalone and consists of four distinct nodes. A recently completed five-year genetic project will soon see the first animals from selected families being placed on the farm.

And another piece looks at the successful spawning of Northern Bluefin Tuna eggs gathered from adults reared in holding pens in the Mediterranean Sea by the American firm Umami Sustainable Seafood, which has tuna ranching facilities and hatchery operations in North America and Croatia. Larvae hatched from eggs, collected from Kali Tuna's holding pens on July 19-21 were analyzed by Genomics Laboratory Macrogen Inc. They were confirmed to be Bluefin Tuna. Further tests conducted on the larvae's mitochondrial DNA determined that they matched their gene base, establishing that natural spawning activity had taken place within Kali's brood stock holding pens. This is the third consecutive year that natural spawning activities have taken place in Umami's Croatian commercial tuna farming facility, Kali Tuna.

Those are just some of the stories I'll be writing about this issue of HI, which will be out to subscribers October 1st.