Diversity and representation don’t just end with someone’s gender or nationality. The Top 10 Under 40 program highlights this publication’s mission to create a big picture that illustrates the countless possibilities and opportunities that are available to young professionals in the industry.
After coming across aquatic resources on a coconut farm in India, Aslam Pathiri became interested in using them to make sustainable animal protein for human consumption. He saw a potential for inland aquaculture, bioconversion efficiency and a rising economic value of freshwater resources.
BLANCA COLIBRÍ RUEDA MAZA
Blanca Colibrí Rueda Maza, 34, had always been certain that a desk job with a monotonous routine wasn’t her calling. Fortunately, her path in aquaculture ensures she enjoys a dynamic work environment. But she didn’t land on that career path by choice — but by what some may call fate.
A soul’s calling
“There is nothing I would rather do than farm fish.” That was what smolt production manager Dane Kieser said about the way he felt working as a farm technician at Molapong Aquaculture in South Africa.
Embrace the challenge
After Eric Ignatz took a field trip out to the Alma Aquaculture Research Centre, now known as the Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre as a student at the University of Guelph, Canada, he found his calling.
Enjoy your work
Growing up, Ezra Byakora never ate fish. It was a taboo in some subregions of Uganda and he was the first person from his family to eat fish. So, it’s not strange that aquaculture was not on his radar early on in life, even while he was on a government scholarship in a Fisheries and Aquaculture Program.
Fight for representation
As early as seven years old, Imani Black wanted to be in the marine science field. Her fascination with restoration and conservation guided her toward aquaculture in college. She enjoys being outdoors and working and learning on the boat. And every job she’s had so far has been next to or on the water.
LIDIA DE LOS RÍOS PÉREZ
After Lidia de los Ríos Pérez did her thesis on shrimp genetics during her studies in veterinary medicine and animal husbandry, she decided to focus her career on a combination of genetics and aquaculture.
The fish whisperer
Not everyone can boast of going to work every day with excitement and a desire to learn but aquaculture research manager Lucas Fredrickson, 37, can. On a tour of a tilapia farm, while studying at the University of Minnesota, many of Fredrickson’s classmates found it dark, smelly, and unappealing but his eyes were opened to the wonders of fish farming.
Setting the example
Michelle Poprawski is one of the few female hatchery managers that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has had, and her supervisor Jim Daley thinks she deserves all the recognition for her work.
Passion and perseverance
Sunday Elebiju, 35, grew up by the river and developed an interest in aquaculture after seeing his grandfather rear fish and his mother sell fish but it wasn’t until his cousin nudged him to consider a career in aquaculture that he took it seriously.