Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm starting this forum topic for anyone who is interested in talking about the new Aquaponics Association.  While nothing will be set in stone when we officially adopt the Charter at the Conference on Sept 16, we'd like to get it as close to representative of what the aquaponics community is hoping for by that time.

If you go to the page that we've set up on the Association site (click here) you can download the Charter and Organizational structure, and answer some questions about your constructive feedback and how can we give you value for your membership dues.  Please take the survey!

Feel free to ask any questions about what we are doing here - the Organizing Committee (myself, Gina Cavaliero, Murray Hallam and Wayne Hall) is an open book, and everyone is a member in this community site.  We are 100% committed to creating an organization that will serve aquaponics well...although we obviously won't be able to do everything right out of the gate, nor will we be able to make everyone happy.  

I'd like to start the discussion rolling by asking a question  that I asked on Murray's forum this morning - how can we bring value to both Individual Members and Commercial members for their dues?  We've listed several things we could do on the survey linked above.  What are we missing?  What sounds great?

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I came on here to read the charter..stayed up until 1:45am reading all the posts (had to start from the very beginning!)...too tired to read the charter now, lol, but I do appreciate those of you that did read and post concerns..some really good points have brought up..maybe I'll get around to reading it another time. good night.

Sorry guys & gals... Nicole's agent has contacted me... and she's unavailable...

 

Apparantly she's busy reading the charter for some proposed international association...

Perhaps I have not made myself clear.  All of  my posts relate to Australia.  I am not interested in the interenational impact of the association, (go for your lives) but only what might end up on my doorstep.   If you or anyone else in the States has the experience to assess the skills and experience of the 20 odd people in AU that have commercial capacity and understand Australian species, climate etc, I look forward to meeting you and blowing my mind.

 

 


Kobus Jooste said:

Look, I'm not going to get into a this way and that way over tiny statements, but unless you know all 2600 odd people on this forum, have their resumes and know their capabilities, you should be careful as to making statements on ability my friend.  I know people that have been in an industry all their lives and are as useless as can be, and people fresh into it that will blow your abilities out the water and humble you any day of the week.  Your statement here is dangerous as you seem to imply that all involved with trying to get this association together are a bunch of fools.

 

On a technicality: you could end up being on the board.  Will the endorsement then also be from an association with limited experience?

Dude, if you refer to Australia on a page regarding an international association then you are quite right, you better be more clear. 

 

As to people with abilities, thanks for consideing me but I was not referring to myself.  You realise though that all that has happened in terms of UVI, Growing Power and Friendly style systems happened outside of Australia don't you?  You do realise that the international expansion of aquaponics is not going to be based on Australian systems alone and that your (just like everyone elses') knowledge skills therefore have regional limitations? I am fully aware of the fact that you rate yourself  and your piers highly in terms of Australian capacity and make no mistake, none of us want to come over there and tell you what to do.  The idea of the association is to have each chapter take care of itself and the association take care of issues related to aquaponics on an international scale.  If you do not want to support the concept, an australian chapter's input or industry development on a regional scale your side through this initiative that is sweet. 

 

In terms of rating component suppliers or system designers I think the concern is far more about fly-by-night clowns that cut and paste other people's system descriptions and sell e-books without after sales support.  In a way, the association is capable of being a tool through which these scammers' impact can be limited.  We are not so arrogant that we think we can go to your back yard and give you a score card on your business. 

Earthan Group said:

Perhaps I have not made myself clear.  All of  my posts relate to Australia.  I am not interested in the interenational impact of the association, (go for your lives) but only what might end up on my doorstep.   If you or anyone else in the States has the experience to assess the skills and experience of the 20 odd people in AU that have commercial capacity and understand Australian species, climate etc, I look forward to meeting you and blowing my mind.

 

 


Kobus Jooste said:

Look, I'm not going to get into a this way and that way over tiny statements, but unless you know all 2600 odd people on this forum, have their resumes and know their capabilities, you should be careful as to making statements on ability my friend.  I know people that have been in an industry all their lives and are as useless as can be, and people fresh into it that will blow your abilities out the water and humble you any day of the week.  Your statement here is dangerous as you seem to imply that all involved with trying to get this association together are a bunch of fools.

 

On a technicality: you could end up being on the board.  Will the endorsement then also be from an association with limited experience?

"You do realise that the international expansion of aquaponics is not going to be based on Australian systems alone and that your (just like everyone elses') knowledge skills therefore have regional limitations?"

 

Not used to this quoting thing...

 

What you have written above is exactly my point.  A primarily American based association which focuses on Tilapia (70% of US land based aquaculture) with many variations of UVI and some interested concepts of commercial scale and economy, would have limited knowledge around commercial species in AU.

 

"The idea of the association is to have each chapter take care of itself"

 

By all means send me a list of the Australians that are supporting this initiative.  I have concerns that if incorrectly or a prematurely placed association here in AU will definitely cause issues for the future commercial enterprises.  I am more than happy to be corrected, but you will not have the critical mass to get any momentum here.  If it fails, then when the actual growers to get some legs on and want to start and association the water has already been sullied with Gov.

 

Further to that, the current developments do not need representation and mark my words the fees and associated costs will go up and start to become prohibitive if the gov thinks someone is making enough money to need industry representation.

 

Here is an example that may be of interest:

Crayfish farmers in Victoria.  They were represented by some 7 associations nationally with an annual turnover of 1.5billion there about.  As most of these farmers were also primary producers (beef and sheep), the Gov. thought, prime safe should be looking into them.  So a terrestrial farming auditor stepped in.  The farmers were prevented from selling or transporting live product, which meant they all had to tow the line and become HACCP certified, (not needed for selling live crayfish) which they were not set up for and would have costs 10s of thousands of dollars each, then had to submit their operations to quarterly audits and the associated costs of that.  Even with the lobbying of the Associations, out of the 65 farms, there are only 3 or 4 left.....

 

You might go, "see this is the sort of thing we can stop, Paul!!"...  No, you  will not have enough mass, so I suggest leave AU out of the equation until the need arises and the collective farmers enough mass (financially).  Then they will more than likely contact you...

 

"If you do not want to support the concept, an australian chapter's input or industry development on a regional scale your side through this initiative that is sweet." 

 

I am certain that when we see something to support, we will support it.  Just not seeing it yet.  

 

In terms of rating component suppliers or system designers I think the concern is far more about fly-by-night clowns that cut and paste other people's system descriptions and sell e-books without after sales support.

 

Yes I understand the concern and it is a positive if you can make a difference.  I have seen plenty of cut and pasting even from prominent people in aquaponic circles.  I read a corker of a how-to today about flow rates in media based grow beds, which was completely inaccurate and you really would not like to know who wrote it ...  Are they any better or worse and should the Association hold them to account? 

 

Would you open the Association up to liability if one of its executive makes statements of professional slander?  Will your insurance cover an inaccurate and careless false accusation?  Will there be a way out written somewhere in case that happens.  I know we don't like to think of these things but it happens all the time.

 

On the insurance front, will you need insurance for professional indenmity or something similar that will protect the exec. if they make false or inaccurate statement and someone follows that advice as posted by the association and that person kills 20 tonne of fish?

 

Perhaps we will see in time.

Actually thinking more about it, there is no point in making my concerns known as there is no chapter here yet.  It may be best to wait and voice concerns then.  That way you guys don't get to upset with my direct manner.

 Earthen we keep hearing about your hesitation to a charter in general. How long do you think AU will be able to fly under the radar in regards to regulation. If you are organized you think you will be regulated more. I think the opposite effect will take place. Right now aquaponics is a knat on an elephants ass in regards to produce sold at the market place. What is going to happen when the knat is 20000 strong and putting a dent in corporations bottom line. Of course you will be regulated. It is better to be organized and out front helping to write the regulations for your industry rather than behind like the Shrimp farmers below.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                            By ''all means send me a list of the Australians that are supporting this initiative.  I have concerns that if incorrectly or a prematurely placed association here in AU will definitely cause issues for the future commercial enterprises.  I am more than happy to be corrected, but you will not have the critical mass to get any momentum here.  If it fails, then when the actual growers to get some legs on and want to start and association the water has already been sullied with Gov.

 

Further to that, the current developments do not need representation and mark my words the fees and associated costs will go up and start to become prohibitive if the gov thinks someone is making enough money to need industry representation.

 

Here is an example that may be of interest:

Crayfish farmers in Victoria.  They were represented by some 7 associations nationally with an annual turnover of 1.5billion there about.  As most of these farmers were also primary producers (beef and sheep), the Gov. thought, prime safe should be looking into them.  So a terrestrial farming auditor stepped in.  The farmers were prevented from selling or transporting live product, which meant they all had to tow the line and become HACCP certified, (not needed for selling live crayfish) which they were not set up for and would have costs 10s of thousands of dollars each, then had to submit their operations to quarterly audits and the associated costs of that.  Even with the lobbying of the Associations, out of the 65 farms, there are only 3 or 4 left.....

I understand your concerns David, I do.  What I am saying (quite a few times now), there is not enough people in commercial integrated aquaculture in AU to warrant it.  The backyarders are best to do what they do best and have done so for decades without help.

 

My reference to the "shrimp farmers" was a case of a very long established industry with exellent and long standing representation with billions backing it and it did not stop the regulators.  They did not form an association later or at the last minute it had been going as long as there were enough commercial farmers in the state to support it.

 

Did it do anything?  Not at all.  This is not to say do not do it, I am the President of the NSW Aquaculture Association, the President of another (not related) and involved in some 12 related Associations/societies etc so I have a fairly good grasp of what makes them tick...  But I think you may be overestimating the power of an association.

 

I also understand being out in front and organized.  I feel there is no need for panic really at this point in time, the industry (for what it is) is very well supported already in collaboration with relevant Associations, Education and Government as I have already stated.  It is not clear what will happen if you mess with it now.  Rushing head in will cause no end of grief I expect.

 

Get organized over there if you feel the need.  If you want to get going over here, no one is going to stop you.  I am simply expressing my concern and I have not seen anything from any other Australian that has convinced me my concerns are make believe...

 

David Waite said:

 Earthen we keep hearing about your hesitation to a charter in general. How long do you think AU will be able to fly under the radar in regards to regulation. If you are organized you think you will be regulated more. I think the opposite effect will take place. Right now aquaponics is a knat on an elephants ass in regards to produce sold at the market place. What is going to happen when the knat is 20000 strong and putting a dent in corporations bottom line. Of course you will be regulated. It is better to be organized and out front helping to write the regulations for your industry rather than behind like the Shrimp farmers below.                                                                                                                                                                  

I can only ask Paul why are you really are so against this proposed Association when you are the President of the NSW Aquaculture Association.
If all these things are so bad for the Aquaculture Industry why are you still president of the NSW Aquaculture Association. Aren't you just waisting your time serving as President.  By the logic in your post above it could also be argued that your efforts as President of the Association you are contributing to the destruction of Aquaculture in Australia?

Further, by your own post above, your Aquaculture Association is a dismal failure.

"mark my words the fees and associated costs will go up and start to become prohibitive if the gov thinks someone is making enough money to need industry representation."

Can we conclude fronm this that your NSW Aquaculture Association is making a heap with massive fees.... or is the Aquaculture industry in NSW a dead loss.

You suggest that the waters will be sullied with Gov by this proposed association. How specifically do you arrive at that conclusion. Is this drawn from your personal involvement as President of the NSW Aquaculture Association and it's associated State and National bodies (by your account above) dismal failure in Victoria (Yes all the state and National bodies are associated)

 

Not much in your dialogue makes sense when examined.   You say above that when you see something to support, then you will support it.
If you don't see anything to support, then why are you so against it ?
What is the underlying issue here?

 

Sorry, I just cannot get how to use this Forum software when it comes to quotes etc.

 

 

 

 

By all means send me a list of the Australians that are supporting this initiative.

Rupert and Earthen, isn't it possible that you guys don't represent the Aussie point of view on the Association, but rather the point of view of a few vocal forum members?  I have people join this site every day who tell me that they will no longer participate on the Aussie forums because of the level of bickering and rancor, and frankly arrogance, there.  I'm willing to bet that there is an entire population of Aussie aquaponic practitioners  who would be very interested in having a way to advance aquaponics that doesn't involve an online forum.



Murray Hallam said:

I can only ask Paul why are you really are so against this proposed Association when you are the President of the NSW Aquaculture Association.

 

I have said quite a few times now Murray that I am not against  the proposed association.  Further as I have also stated you have not requested support from our Association so I am not speaking here as the President but as a businessman that has a vested interest in both aquaculture and aquaponics.

 

Also the aquaculture associations support integrated aquaculture here in Australia already.  My position in our aquaculture association has nothing to do with this current proposal.

 

It is expected that I would want to know more about what you will do if you get in this country.  Are you against inquiry Murray or is it preferred that we all just agree?  Is it difficult for you to provide some articulated well though out answers?  So far not one single question of mine has been answered or at least not adequately and most have been deflected. Not what I would call informative exchange.  When you do have a constitution set out for Australia, as I said that will interest me.

 

If all these things are so bad for the Aquaculture Industry why are you still president of the NSW Aquaculture Association. Aren't you just waisting your time serving as President. 

 

Sorry Murray, I did not read in any of my comments anything about aquaculture industry and I do not recall saying they were bad.  I suppose I am the President because I was voted by my peers of more than 35 years experience because of my contributions to aquaculture, that is how it usually works

 

By the logic in your post above it could also be argued that your efforts as President of the Association you are contributing to the destruction of Aquaculture in Australia?

 

That is some interesting logic Murray, though I am fairly certain aquaculture in Australia in not being destroyed.   Some of the Association heads around Australia have changed in the last 2 years which puts a little instability into the directions of the groups but provides us with more opportunity for coagulation.  Adding to that instability is dwindling support from farmers.  Even though they try, being part of an association sometimes does not fit into their day and we have the tyranny of distance as many farms are very remote and removed. 

 

There is also the reduced investment in new aquaculture in Australia.  The capital investment for recirc. farms can be prohibitive and we can not get the scale into the farms required for serious viability, though we are looking at a 1000 tonne proposal.  Universities are upgrading and building new research facilities around Australia though most of this work is around marine culture.  For example, Maquarie University flew me down to meet with the Marine Ecology Group in Sydney today to discuss some new research there and tomorrow I fly to Adelaide University for 3 days to commission a PC2 lab in collaboration with SARDI.  I visited the Bribie Island Research facility last week end and there is come considerable capital being put into that facility by CSIRO but again primarily marine culture for Prawns, though they are doing some work with Pacific Reef with Black Cobia Production but are having issues with FCR.

 

Further, by your own post above, your Aquaculture Association is a dismal failure.

 

Our aquaculture association, has been lacking over the last few years, though I expect that will change in time.  I am not sprouting to the world that we will save everyone, quick join now.  Government is withdrawing support for most freshwater land based aquaculture simply because it just does not have the critical mass for the Gov to take it that seriously outside of Barramundi.  Also it has shut down most of its research facilities. There are many other issues which I am certain you must know about Murray. 

 

Take for example the fragmentation of the industry bodies, the reluctance to share info between states and the budget cuts of NAC, the peek industry body.  I have a mountainous list of issues which all the heads are working on and working towards a more collaborated effort.  But that takes a long time when we are dealing with old hands at the business that just want to farm and do their thing. 

 

It has been said before, though not by me, that for a collective group in aquaponics to move forward in Australia, it will need some cohesion.  All I am seeing is fragmentation and you have not even started.  I doubt that leaves you in much of a position to question an Association, such as ours that has been established and served the industry well for over 30 years.

 

"mark my words the fees and associated costs will go up and start to become prohibitive if the gov thinks someone is making enough money to need industry representation."

Can we conclude fronm this that your NSW Aquaculture Association is making a heap with massive fees.... or is the Aquaculture industry in NSW a dead loss.

 

Neither are true.  While NSW is not exempt from the issues that burden aquaculture in Australia, they do have a large oyster industry that holds it up.  Somehow you missed the meaning of the sentence and I can see how the words associated, which I wrote and association can get confused. 

 

Take your situation Murray, your set up falls outside of the free self assessed license criteria in Queensland even though DEEDI are aware of you, they have not bothered you at all.  They are not that fussed on small backyard operators.  However if an industry body starts out trying to self regulate, I guess you will have to lead by example and pay your license fees as everyone else will need to that is operating in their backyard minding their own business with just a few too many tanks out the back.  If you plan to represent the backyarder.

 

Move on to the HACCP certification.  There are not that many certified aquaculture farms because the audits and fees are very expensive and it is an enormous task and cost to set up to be HACCP approved.  If you are not exporting and not processing your product on site, this is not an issue.  However, if you "self regulate" and I am all for that, but to suggest that everyone should have a HACCP plan and certification just is not realistic as different producers will have a different business model.  Some will process all their produce onsite and value add and others will sell chilled to wholesales etc.

 

You suggest that the waters will be sullied with Gov by this proposed association. How specifically do you arrive at that conclusion. Is this drawn from your personal involvement as President of the NSW Aquaculture Association and it's associated State and National bodies (by your account above) dismal failure in Victoria (Yes all the state and National bodies are associated)

 

I suggested that if you come in and fail to do it properly, it will cause the industry to "look" like a bunch of shonky backyarders.  No offence, I could not find an alternate description, it is getting late and I have to be up in 5 hours to catch a flight

 

Your assessment of how the Associations in aquaculture are connected on a state and national level is a little odd and I do not have the time to explain the complexities to you if you do not already understand them and they are irrelevant to this discussion.

 

Not much in your dialogue makes sense when examined.   You say above that when you see something to support, then you will support it.   If you don't see anything to support, then why are you so against it ?  What is the underlying issue here?

 

Perhaps you should examine it closer Murray because I have not said I am against this going ahead in the States or elsewhere.

 

This entire post from you is yet another example of why I hold reservations about this thing landing on our doorstep.  How do you think trying that rubbish on with me will be seen Murray.  The repeated suggesting that my involvement in aquaculture is the downfall of aquaculture amongst the other tripe does not encourage me to support anything you do here Murray.  Continuing down this path, will see actual opposition and more fragmentation.  So for one that hopes and believes he wants to get this thing running, is it not in your best interest to answer questions and concerns without immature attempts at ridicule?  You might think it clever mate, but it is far from it.

 


I am sure you are right Sylvia.  I am not attempting to represent AU backyarders and even mentioned that I could be speaking out of line.  Quite possibly, Australians want another avenue to explore aquaponics, why not?  If they do want to, they will join regardless of what I say.

Sylvia Bernstein said:

By all means send me a list of the Australians that are supporting this initiative.

Rupert and Earthen, isn't it possible that you guys don't represent the Aussie point of view on the Association, but rather the point of view of a few vocal forum members?  I have people join this site every day who tell me that they will no longer participate on the Aussie forums because of the level of bickering and rancor, and frankly arrogance, there.  I'm willing to bet that there is an entire population of Aussie aquaponic practitioners  who would be very interested in having a way to advance aquaponics that doesn't involve an online forum.

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