A day in the life of a Fish Farmer
PUBLISHED: 20:29 08 June 2014 | UPDATED: 08:01 09 June 2014
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
Paul Davis from Harrietsham on being the only fish farm in Kent producing for the table, scientific feeding and Ghurkha soldier fans
Name: Paul Ree Davis
Job title: Fish farmer
Parkwood Trout Farm, Harrietsham
How old is the farm?
My father, Colin Davis, started the farm in 1972. Initially we rented the site but bought it 10 years later. We produce brown and rainbow Trout.
The farm is about seven acres – I often refer to it as ‘our back garden’ – it’s my wife Alison who looks after most of the gardening and makes it such an appealing spot.
How does it work?
We rear brown and rainbow trout. We used to rear rainbow from eggs but now we buy in fish when they are about two-and-a-half inches long. It may surprise some readers – they are sold by weight and we get about 100 to 1lb; at this stage they are sufficiently hardy to go outside.
We also buy in some brown trout but rear many of our own from eggs because ours are a particularly attractive strain. We produce about 25,000 eggs which are stripped out in November – sufficient for about three years. They go into a fibre glass trough with water constantly cascading over them to supply oxygen and they hatch in 50 days. Brown trout take twice as long to mature as the rainbows.
What age did you start farming?
From the age of 14 I was involved in one way or another, however, when I left school I opted for an apprenticeship in a completely different industry. I joined my father when I was 25 and became the senior partner when he died in 1999. The other partner is my mother, Brenda Davis.
What has your training been?
It has been a learning-on-the-job process from when I was young.
Describe a typical working day
I am sure that everyone starts by saying that every day is different, but every day is busy! Some jobs have to be done daily. For example, the fish are fed early in the morning and again in mid-afternoon. We give them a pelleted high-protein food that is especially produced for trout.
The formula for feeding is scientifically based on the number of fish, their average weight and the water temperature, the latter because their metabolism increases when the water gets warmer.
As with any business, there is always maintenance, for example, the screens become blocked with leaves and grass and they must be unblocked. Fulfilling orders takes up quite a lot of time and some days I prepare fish for smoking and there is a regular stream of shoppers.
How do you market?
You may be surprised to learn that we never advertise, as it isn’t necessary. We restock syndicates, clubs, private waters and so on. We also have a shop which is open Thursday-Sunday inclusive.
I believe we are now the only fish farm in Kent producing for the table and we sell a mixture of fresh and smoked fish. We have quite a few regular clients among who are increasing numbers of Ghurkha soldiers and their families; they love fish.
Marks out of 10 for job satisfaction?
Like all forms of farming, there are bad days when, for a variety of reasons, things don’t go quite right. Excluding those, it is hard work but it’s a way of life I enjoy. It’s a 10 for sure.
GET IN TOUCH
Parkwood Trout Farm, Goddington Lane, Harrietsham ME17 1JX, 01622 859302