Alumniverhaal

Marc – Fish farmer in Zambia

Fish farmer Marc, in the Netherlands also known from the Dutch tv-show ‘Boer Zoekt Vrouw’ (Famer Wants a Wife), runs one of the biggest fish farms in Africa. He likes the diversity of his job and being able to work outside, instead of behind a desk.

I wanted a job where no day is the same, where I contribute to building a unique company. Being some sort of pioneer.

Could you tell us more about your job as a fish farmer?
“The company I work for is one of the biggest fish farms in Africa, and hopefully we will be the biggest one next year. In my current position, I am responsible for everything that happens on the lake. The work is amazing!

No day is the same; one day I am diving and the other day I am doing some calculations in order to find out if we are doing well. Or I am taking measurements in the laboratory. I have 250 employees, so I am also fairly busy with steering and training people and the implementation of procedures.”

How did you get this amazing job in Zambia?
“After my master’s Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management, I did not picture myself all day long behind a desk. I also didn’t want to continue in research. I like variation and I love being outside, only being behind a desk to shortly figure something out, and manage people. I wanted a job where no day is the same, where I contribute to building a unique company. Being some sort of pioneer...

I moved to Singapore to work for a Barramundi (Asian sea bass) fish farm. I was responsible for harvesting the fish and building the hatchery. It was great to live in Singapore. My life in a super modern city alternated with working on the sea. Where you have pretty much nothing except for nature and sea surrounding you. That is what made it fun. But I also wanted to see more of the world, and therefore I started working for a feed manufacturer.

For this manufacturer I could travel for three years all around Africa, Asia and the Netherlands. I got the opportunity to visit all sorts of fish farms, get the hang of different systems and get more knowledge in the field of fish farming. This was a great opportunity, but the focus on sales turned out not to be my cup of tea. Soon after I got offered a job in Zambia, where I am still working nowadays!”

Why did you choose to do you master’s in aquaculture?
“During my bachelor’s Animal Sciences I decided to take a couple of courses in aquaculture. I found it very stimulating, so I decided to continue with this topic in my master’s. Feed, health, reproduction, production systems and all other elements that you need in order to farm fish were addressed.

The chair group that offered the courses and where I did my thesis was small, but already then I realised that the field of aquaculture is very promising. It was, and still is, one of the fastest growing sectors related to food production. I saw so many opportunities for improvement and with that a lot of job opportunities ahead of me!”

And why did you study at Wageningen University & Research?
“Well, I was always passionate about nature, biology and animals. First I wanted to study Biology or Veterinary Medicine. But I soon realised that I did not want to do anything with plants and I thought the latter study was too hard. I started looking at other options and I found Animal Sciences at Wageningen University & Research, which had a master Aquaculture and Fisheries (nowadays part of the master Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management).

The first time I was in Wageningen I did not get the impression of it being a real university town. The city centre was small and there was no central campus; all buildings were spread over town. Back then I had no clue that the university is one of the best worldwide in the field of agriculture. When I started taking courses and got to know my fellow students, I got more and more interested and enthusiastic.”

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