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Fukui's Monthly News Letter

Growers need gear information

It was almost two years ago that Fukui Fishing Net Co. Ltd. contracted me to open up new markets for their products in North and Central America.

As one of Japan's largest netting manufacturers, Fukui produces a diversity of products that lead us to many different industries and potential markets.

In North America, we used our resources to get out in the field and talk to the end users of the products to find out what needed to be improved, what challenges were being faced, and how we as a manufacturer could take an active role in the future success of the industry.

In our investigation of the aquaculture industry in both finfish and shellfish we discovered that little was known about the different growout products available, or the selection of materials from which they could be made.

While the industry is in a relatively early period of development, we concluded that the potential for growth was great compared to some of the other markets that we serve around the world.

However, one of the detrimental factors slowing growth was the lack of information on gear available.

Based on this market analysis, we have made a long-term commitment to education and to act as a technology transfer point for information from our clients worldwide. Writing this column for FFN readers is one method of sharing our know-how.

The more growers know about the availability and uses of aquaculture growout gear, the greater the likelihood of enhancing yields, therefore enhancing the profit margins of producers in North America.

At an early aquaculture information session that I attended, one of the speakers, who had close to 20 years experience in the industry, said there are two rules that are significant in the growth of aquaculture:

1. "What you learned yesterday will probably change tomorrow."

2. "Don't try to 'reinvent the wheel.'"

At the time, I wasn't quite sure what he meant. However, observations from the last several years in Asia and North America have demonstrated the meaning of these rules on numerous occasions.

On our global view of things we have witnessed farms that have production levels many times greater than what others are currently experiencing.

Based on the simple philosophy that "success leaves clues" and that there is no advantage to making the same mistakes that someone else has made, our suggestions to look for the cause of successful operations weren't always readily received. Rather we were met with comments such as "That works there but it won't work here," "they have better conditions then we do," and "they have been at it longer then we have."

It is not true in all cases that there is reluctance to change for the better, or that at least exploring new ways of enhancement is met with general opposition.

But people in general have always have a reluctance to change, it is normal human nature. And aquaculture individuals are no different. However we must remember to follow:

Rule # 1, which means accepting rather than fighting change since it is a part of this industry.

Rule #2, the "reinventing of the wheel," as far as equipment goes is still a delight to observe. I have seen more contraptions and growout methods made using resources that are readily available locally that it still leaves me in awe over the ideas that some of the people in aquaculture can come up with.

I have respect for these people and their innovative abilities as a key element to future growth. I am, however, disappointed by the fact that many people spent a lot of time and resources experimenting with growout gear ideas that in most cases are already in use in other areas. Or that something close to what they needed is available and they weren't aware of it, so they "reinvented the wheel."

As a manufacturer we are taking the position of equating adaptability to specific needs. Education into the proper uses of equipment has as much importance. I have seen numerous misuses of equipment that have reduced yields and increased labour cost.

In future columns I will be discussing: predation systems, both above and below water; nylon vs. polyester and the pro's and con's of each; polyethylene P.E. or Polypropylene P.P.; larval or seed (spat) collection and the different materials and equipment in use; shellfish deep-water, mid water and shallow water gear that will allow you to maximize site yields; labour saving gear enhancements and proper usage; special enhancement of designs of low fouling equipment; alternate equipment use; ultraviolet treatments; and environmental enhancement materials.

The list can go on and on. However, what is important is that you understand that as a manufacturer we are here to listen to you and even though we have a head start, we approach each day looking to learn something new.

I welcome your equipment challenges, ideas and comments so that through this column and in other ways of communication, we may continue to enhance the industry through technology transfer pertaining to methods and applications that we gather from around the globe.

Contact Don Bishop at:
Fukui North America

110-B Bonnechere St.W.
Eganville, Ontario K0J 1T0
Email: don@bishopaquatic.com or call 613-639-3474

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