AQT Spotlight on Ra’anan Ariav – The Importance of Good Timing
I have met all kinds of personalities and people through the AQT Spotlights. And I will forever be grateful for the impact these can make in our industry and make in my personal life as well. Today I want to share Dr. Ra’anan Ariav’s story with you. I am looking to share stories from people all over the world and I found Ra’anan. He is 61 years old and has been in the industry for almost 40 years. So, you can tell there is a lot we need to learn from his vast experience. Ra’anan earned his Bachelor of Science in Aquaculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Israel. He then continued his studies and graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA, specializing in aquatic animal health.
Ra’anan has several decades of experience in the international aquaculture industry as both an expert veterinary practitioner and a senior corporate executive. As part of his work, Ra’anan was responsible for establishing a unique global veterinary service. As well as a comprehensive line of aquatic veterinary products for both shrimp and fish producers. Which included: Medications, Feed additives, Fish vaccines, Bio-remediation products, and Pre-mixed formulations. At the moment Ra’anan is providing consulting services to the aquaculture industry and some pharmaceutical companies. So let’s dive into his story!
From very early in his life, Ra’anan knew he wanted to be a Veterinarian. “Besides veterinary, I had a passion for aquatic life. My father used to say that while other kids would be swimming in the ocean, I’d be looking for fish and aquatic creatures. So it was only natural to combine my passion for Veterinary and fish”.
Aquaculture became the perfect merge. So, the first thing he did was study Aquaculture, as the industry was starting to develop. “As I grew older, I noticed how important Aquaculture would be for food and protein security. A security that is necessary for a rapidly expanding human population”. And everything that came after graduating from vet school, was natural for him and a big part of what he is today, professionally and personally.
He says he is very grateful to the Aquaculture industry. The industry provided him with challenges, great opportunities, friends. But especially wonderful personal and professional journeys.
“At the beginning of my career, in 1983, very few people in the industry understood the importance of veterinary and health management within the industry. Even though the industry was expanding and intensifying all around the globe, there were very few professionals providing veterinary solutions to a growing list of problems in Aquaculture”.
About International Experiences
Throughout his career, Ra’anan was able to work with fish a shrimp farmers all around the world. I found the globality of his experience to be extremely interesting. So, he moved to the USA with his wife in the late 80s. “Life was very different from Israel. It was a very long and cold winter. However, I loved the experience, the weather, and especially the people. I got a job there in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Providing Veterinary services to State Harcheries”. But after he graduated he realized he wanted to go home. As much as he loved living the American Dream, he missed his friends and family who were back in Israel.
Back in Israel, Ra’anan opened a veterinary practice, one focused completely on Aquaculture. And at the time this was probably the very first Aquatic Veterinary Service in the world. In addition to his international veterinary services, together with his team of top professionals he also provided veterinary services to over 45 fish farms in Israel. This included both edible and ornamental fish, in both freshwater and marine environments.
His service grew rapidly over the years. Working in most parts of the world. “I was very fortunate to enter our industry at a time where there were very few veterinarians practicing aquatic animal health”. Timing is important in life. “The industry grew and intensified. And due to introduction of both new pathogens and new aquatic species to other regions of the world, Aquaculture was facing a growing number of veterinary problems which required experience and knowledge in farm management”.
“In time, I developed an understanding of my practice. My patients were not just the fish and shrimp”0. His growing experience in farm management as well as an in-depth understanding of the Aquaculture industry gave him a different perspective. “I started to evaluate the business and address what was going well at the farm and assess which elements needed improvement or change”. Medicine, diagnosis, and chemistry were still an ongoing side of his work. But this perspective gave him a broad and holistic business view. “I began to address the overall management of the farms, including their nutritional program, breeding programs, the quality of their genetics, the farm’s infrastructure and equipment as well as the skills of their employees. This comprehensive approach created a very unique service and provided an effective solution to the problems of our growing clientele”.
Define your Overall Experience
“My journey in aquaculture was and still is a very unique personal and professional experience. Aquaculture has been my passion for a long time, now. I feel that I’m part of an important global process and am very proud of my small contribution to the industry’s growth. As part of my effort to disseminate knowledge, I have been teaching health management of aquatic species in Israel and abroad for many years, both in academic institutions and local government courses”.
Ra’anan has witnessed the industry growing. Production volumes increasing in developing countries. Intensification and improvement of feed formulation and farm technologies. The dissemination of professional knowledge. As well as the development of endless jobs and sources of income for people around the world.
His journey through Aquaculture has taken Ra’anan to every corner of the world. Has allowed him to meet thousands of people, “Whom to this day I consider personal friends in every part of the world”. Giving him the ability to experience different cultures, religions, colors, personalities, and to him, this is a very rewarding aspect of his professional life.
Aquaculture is full of opportunities “It is not happening in Manhattan, Berlin, or London. Aquaculture is expanding in the developing world. Where there is exceptional human talent. Climatic conditions are ideal, there are vast land and water resources. As well as a genuine need for Aquaculture products and most importantly a strong motivation to grasp on opportunities and adopt new technologies. The industry is and will be growing in our lifetime and beyond”.
Challenges in Aquaculture
For Ra’anan, the industry is filled with challenges and opportunities. But the biggest one is the growing global demand for high-quality protein “combined with a rapidly growing human population and a shrinkage of wild fish stocks. All these together promise an increased future dependence on aquaculture. We, then, are in the need of developing profitable and sustainable practices and facilities. which will allow our industry to make a significant contribution to future supplies of fish while minimizing adverse environmental effects”.
The Deserted Island Scenario… With a Twist!
I introduced this section a couple of Spotlights ago. And honestly,……………. it has become my favorite question to ask during my interviews. So, Ra’anan, if you had to go to another industry that is not related to veterinary, aquaculture, or fish, and you could only take one thing you have learned throughout your 40 years in this industry, what would you take?
“Tough question, since I feel that my career has provided me with numerous valuable tools… Having to choose just one thing which I can carry with me into another industry it’s those lessons I have learned in managing people throughout my professional life: Choose the right people, -especially when on your way to a deserted Island- encourage your team and recognize their hard work, make sure they enjoy their work and are fairly compensated for their efforts. Teach, instruct, trust. To not be afraid of providing constructive criticism, while providing them -most of the time- with a big hug and a warm smile. Demonstrate leadership and always make sure you lead by setting an example”.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
This may be a cliche in recruitment processes. But I strongly believe asking people this question gives them the platform and push to find what they want and need in life. For Ra’anan, after being involved for so long in the industry, it was not an easy question to answer. He says he has been thinking about this for a few years now. “I will continue to work in the health management of aquatic species. I will continue to implement responsible preventive medicine practices. And I will continue to push for the development of new technologies in Aquaculture. Not just from the veterinary perspective, but also to all forms of infrastructure”.
“I enjoy teaching and so I hope that I will continue to interact with the younger generation and be able to share my lifetime professional experiences with them. Finally, and most importantly, after receiving so much from this industry for so many years, I would like to find a way in which I can express my overall feeling of gratitude and appreciation through continued contribution to the development of aquatic food supplies, jobs, and business opportunities in the developing world”.
What Would You Say to Future Generations?
He believes this industry has a bright future and endless opportunities for everyone that has a passion for what it represents. “Search within yourself… Develop your professional skills and your vision… Follow your instincts, hold on to your passion, and never let go!