The Aquaculture industry deals mostly with living aquatic species, this is why I believe is important to highlight the important role veterinarians play. For this AQT Spotlight, I bring Clara Trullàs Story. She is a 36-year-old veterinarian from Spain and she is currently working as Aquaculture Product Manager for Tanin Sevnica in Slovenia. She has been involved in the industry for about 9 years, and her story and insights on Aquaculture, are something you definitely should read.
The Dream of Becoming a Veterinarian
Ever since she was a little girl, Clara would dream about becoming a veterinarian. One of her first memories is being about 2-3 years old in the town where her parents worked, with her nanny visiting the newborn lambs on a farm nearby. “A lot of people dream of becoming a vet. I think is almost an innate thing, most children love animals. In my case, this drive of wanting to become a vet was very big. And later on, living right across a pet shop where I could constantly see dogs, cats, fishes, and all kinds of animals, was definitely one of the reasons that drive never wore off.
What About Aquaculture
I love animals, but I always thought fish were not as complex as dogs and cats are. And I really do not like them as pets. So I was curious, how from loving animals and becoming a vet, she went for Aquaculture. In a previous spotlight, we learned throughout Aquaculture history Veterinarians are not a very common job. “So, I started vet school to become a vet for companion animals, pets. That was my dream, my ideal, my objective, the future I envisioned. But then life had a different plan for me. Clinical veterinary is very frenetic and emotional. In my last year of uni, I took an elective on aquatic animal production. And that was it for me”.
Clara took that first elective, and the following semester she took the continuation ‘Aquatic Animals Pathology’. She always had a draw for aquatic animals. Clara is not sure why this drive for aquatic species, she never lived close to the beach or rivers. But she loved Orcas, Dolphins, Whales, Sharks. “I didn’t know anything about these animals, or not a lot honestly. But when I took these elective courses, I saw the light. Everything lined up, my life took a turn”.
About her International Experiences
Clara has had different international experiences and opportunities, first as a student and fellow researcher and then with formal jobs. Something we have seen is not uncommon in this evolving and developing industry. But how has it been for her to experience these? “I have always enjoyed traveling and meeting new places. I like moving around. Ever since I can remember. I believe my international experiences are some of the best things I have done in my life. Every experience has changed me. I have been lucky to have been able to build a life everywhere I have been able to go”.
She says the diversity these experiences have given her makes her feel like one of the luckiest people in the world, she feels like she has been given a gift. “In Australia, we had opportunity and availability for anything and everything. In Thailand, resources were not as vast, but I learned to assess and gauge real needs. And now I have worked in Slovenia for over three years”. This has allowed Clara to have a different approach to every problem, get to work with different species and work methodologies, experience different cultures. She says it has made her step out of every comfort zone she had.
How Clara Defines Aquaculture
“This is a beautiful question. But the answer is not simple. For me Aquaculture is growth. The industry has been a challenge. Especially being one of the few veterinarians in the industry. There may be hundreds, but not as many as other disciplines. And in this being one of the few I will also add being a woman in the industry. Aquaculture has not only given me the opportunity to travel but also to meet and learn from different people. To grow on a personal as well as on a professional level. Aquaculture has meant a routine that coming from where I come from, I would have never imagined I would have”.
The Big Picture
In Psychology, the school of Gestalt’s main postulate says -just like Aristotle- “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. This means we, humans, do not simply focus on every small component of a whole. We perceive things and phenomena as complex systems. More than all of the things that compose them. Clara says that sometimes media, people, everyone, focuses on the small things of the industry. “They talk about antibiotics, fish escapes, sea lice. Yeah, of course, none of that is good, in the industry we all are unhappy about that as well. But to be fair, every industry has a side that not everyone likes. And in the end, I believe we just need to focus on the big picture”.
“Aquaculture is a necessity. And I understand, sometimes the point of view of some environmentalists and all of the people that may hit the industry. However, the reality also is: this is a new and unknown industry for the rest of the world. We are so young. A Teenage industry. And we have been learning from our mistakes. Grabbing the mistakes other industries have made, and learning from them as well. We are lucky we can be creative, innovative, and change everything overnight! And people need to see the industry is more than what it used to be, and in the future, it would probably be nothing like it is today”.
The Deserted Island Dilemma with a Twist
So, Clara, if you were to go to another industry, and you could only take one thing from your Aquaculture experience, what would that be?
“This is a difficult question. I think, if I could only take one thing from my experience I would definitely take the talent. The people. It has been them the ones who taught me everything I know. Without some of the people that have been a part of this, my experience, it wouldn’t have been the same. I wouldn’t have grown and evolved the way I have. Either my mentor in Spain or Australia, my Teamwork in Thailand, the students and lab technicians. I would take everyone with me because I have learned so much from them, and even more than from anything else in the industry”.
And if you had to remove something from the industry?
“I think it would be the bad perception people have of the industry. Aquaculture has evolved and changed, little by little, but also with some big steps. I think that what people like you at WeAreAquaculture are doing, to educate the rest of the world, will definitely take us to a level where the consumers accept we are better than before. It is not fair for this amazing and beautiful industry to deal with such a negative perception”.
For Future Generations
For Clara something is clear, she is in this industry because of people. Not only because they have helped her get to where she is. But for what Aquaculture represents for the world, for food, and job security. For all it represents as an industry to every individual person involved in it. But what would she tell someone that is interested in joining the industry?
“I would of course tell them about all the positive things Aquaculture re[resents. I have been lucky, the industry has been extremely amicable towards me. I would encourage anyone that wants to join the industry, to do it. Other than being a necessity this industry has many perks and advantages for any discipline and talent. We need to add as many people and disciplines as possible, that is the only thing that will help us keep evolving the way we have.