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Piers

Piers HART

Year of Award: 1995 Award State: Tasmania None > Fishing And Aquaculture
To examine commercial hatchery and growout techniques for flatfish, particularly the use of cages - Japan, Norway, Spain, UK, France
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Since completing the Churchill Fellowship I have done many things; it was a major influence on my life – something I will never forget.

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 went on 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. After three years I moved to Victoria, where I managed the R & D for an abalone farm for two years and briefly became President of the Victorian Abalone Growers Association. Following that I spent a number of years as a consultant, and developed the Applied Aquaculture Degree course for NMIT in Melbourne.

I moved back to the UK in 2003 and briefly worked on tropical fish for Tropical Marine Centre, the biggest importer of tropical fish in Europe.

After that I turned my focus away from the technical side of aquaculture towards its sustainability, as well as its international importance as a food production system in a modern world with limited resources and growing population facing the impacts of climate change. I worked with recirculating aquaculture systems and organic certification.

In 2009 I started work with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), developing and promoting the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. I am still there, leading the international efforts of WWF to improve the sustainability of aquaculture and ensure that it takes its rightful place in the future of food production. I have worked on certification standards and promotion of the wider sustainability issues in our food system, where land and fresh water are limiting and carbon footprints need to be reduced. Aquaculture is vital for the future in all these respects. I have also been working on the development of microalgae as a producer of the all-important long chain omega 3 oils.

In the end, though, it will be consumer acceptance of the importance of farmed seafood that will make the difference in the developed world; this has been one of my main areas of focus.

I remain as Aquaculture Policy Officer with WWF UK. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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