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Andrea Taylor

Time in industry: 12 years

I entered the seafood industry in 2005, after completing a BSc in Aquaculture and Seafood Studies, whilst working in a seafood market in Perth. I then moved to Jurien Bay, Western Australia for my first aquaculture technician job. I instantly loved my work, breeding live feeds and yellowtail kingfish, and, as part of my time there was with a start up company, I got to be a part of first runs, failures and successes. It was a very exciting time of my life.  From there I followed my passion for finfish aquaculture to the Northern Territory where I worked at the Darwin Aquaculture Centre, Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, to produce barramundi for local grow out farms.

Here I completed a research honors in pearl oyster spawning, leading me into hatchery and on-growing research on the native black lip oyster and sea cucumbers.

I am currently an aquaculture research officer at the centre, and manage internal and externally funded research projects. A current focus is on the development of black lip rock oyster as a potential aquaculture business in remote NT Indigenous communities. Edible oyster quality assurance is now a large part of my work in this area and I have enjoyed branching out into this field, which is in developmental stages in the NT. I also provide technical input at the centre across a variety of projects.

I’ve had many memorable moments in the seafood industry, from first successful kingfish batches in Jurien Bay, to working with such a dynamic and welcoming team at the Darwin Aquaculture Centre and getting commercial outcomes from an exciting honors project, which is now being used to improve pearl oyster spawn inductions. One special moment that stands out was traveling by boat out to a site at South Goulburn island to deploy juvenile sea cucumbers for my first field trial, which led to one of my first publications.

I have always enjoyed working in the seafood industry. There are many types of roles which come together to produce seafood for human consumption, and those I have experienced have all been interesting and fulfilling. One thing that has kept me in aquaculture has been the people. I think it seems to attract happy, energetic people of all ages because the work is fun and full of variety. As it is such a developing industry, each new achievement counts and there is plenty of inspiration to keep pushing to refine techniques for existing breeding programs as well as pioneering aquaculture of new species.

I would recommend the seafood industry to anyone who would like to put in and get out a lot from their work, who like science and being outdoors, don’t mind getting wet and work well in teams of like minded people. When I started in aquaculture, women were definitely the minority, but this has changed dramatically since then, and I think women and men are equally suited for this industry. It is all about a love of seafood, producing it, fishing it, selling it and making it safe.