Veteran: Doug Burdette has been developing state-of-the-art fish farming systems for more than 40 years. *Photos supplied
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14: Doug Burdette runs Global Aquatics with his two sons, Brian and Mike, from the firm’s headquarters in Maryland.
Mr Burdette set the company up more than 40 years ago rearing fish in bathtubs.
Today the aquaculture and aquaponics systems that he has designed are being rolled out in countries across the world including Thailand, Nigeria, New Guinea and Trinidad.
He said: “I was fortunate enough to have been born at exactly the right time to enter the new modern science of aquaculture back in the 1960’s.
“I and a handful of other young engineers across the country and around the world recognized that the future of seafood would some day depend on our ability to move from massive pond cultures to more intensive indoor systems.
“We all had one thing in common, we were experimenters who literally started out growing fish in bath tubs and continually devised new filters, tanks and other components to keep the water clean so the fish could have a good environment to live in.
“From those early experiments indoor re-circulating aquaculture systems have evolved into the state of the art systems that are now producing nearly 20 per cent of all the seafood on the markets today.”
Mr Burdette designs the systems and components for the company’s aquaculture operation.
While his two sons build the precision components and help get the systems up and running.
Mr Burdette said: “My entire career as an engineer and consultant has mostly been in working with others designing massive systems for deep pocketed corporations.
“Almost all of these have been overseas because aquaculture in the US was lagging far behind the rest of the world.
“This is why today at least 60 per cent of all aquacultured products consumed in the US are imported from fish farms in Asia.
“Today this trend is changing as consumers in the US have developed an awareness of the quality of food they eat and concerns about how it was grown. They would much rather buy products locally grown.
“I too have changed my focus as I am now getting older and want to work to use my experience to help start up farmers in the US get into the business to get our domestic production moving forward.”