At a young age of 26, fresh out of graduate school, JP Hastey III founded an aquaculture company and built his very first hatchery. Nova Harvest, located in the coastal village of Bamfield in British Columbia, Canada, aims to be the top supplier of high-quality seed for Canada’s shellfish industry.
Now in business for eight years, Hastey has built his company from the ground up, literally and figuratively.
“Over the past eight years, JP has become an expert in every aspect of hatchery systems, operations, micro-algae culture, broodstock conditioning, larvae culture, and nursery grow-out for multiple shellfish species, much of which have been self-taught and experientially learned,” writes Nova Harvest’s hatchery manager Angela Fortune, who nominated Hastey.
Innovation is in Hastey’s DNA, personally designing, testing, building and rebuilding every hatchery system at Nova Harvest. He looked after water filtration and heating systems, multiple oyster nursery upwelling systems, including a recirculating bottle upwelling system. He designed and built a 24-bin floating upwelling system, and various micro-algae culture systems with custom-made environmental monitors, Fortune says.
“Innovation is a fundamental skill required to develop and sustain a shellfish hatchery from the ground up,” she notes.
Hastey’s time is not only spent building up an empire; he is also constantly engaging and volunteering in the aquaculture community and has become a mentor to many students wishing to get into the industry. He is a member of the board of directors of the British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association and serves in multiple community non-profit boards.
With a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s in Animal Science, Hastey says he’s been able to apply every aspect of his education to develop and sustain his hatchery enterprise. The “significant problem-solving and innovation opportunities” in shellfish culture drew him to this sector.
“It seems the challenges are endless but fortunately, the greater the challenge the more fun it is to solve, and I love that,” Hastey says.
The young CEO sees so many opportunities but also challenges in shellfish aquaculture. Despite the abundance of potential for the aquaculture industry, in general, Hastey feels these opportunities don’t go much beyond traditional salmon farming.
“I feel the inner operations of a hatchery, especially shellfish, is a mystery to most,” Hastey says. “Opportunities for people to experience a hatchery are limited, making it an overlooked portion of the industry and a missed opportunity for prospective young professionals in aquaculture.”
It’s an area where Hastey wants to make an impact. His years of experience in building his company through innovation and hard work have given him the tenacity to pursue the higher good, of being a major player in providing solutions to the challenges that face the shellfish aquaculture industry, improving scalability and help push the sector to its true potential.
And he knows failure is a necessary step towards enlightenment. He takes his own advice of learning from his mistakes and missteps, and would give the same wisdom to any young professional interested in this industry.
“The more comfortable you can make yourself with failure by viewing it as a necessary step of learning as you navigate the unknown, the harder and farther you will be able to push yourself and the greater the success you will achieve.”
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