By Matt Jones
By Matt Jones
Arkansas fish farmers were faced with extremely serious problems recently when staff departures at the Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratories made essential services unavailable.
Fish disease certification testing requires expertise that simply is not readily available, even from other professional fish and fish farming experts. Shutting down the fish farms of Arkansas until new experts could be hired and trained was not an acceptable option. Trying to ship fish across jurisdictional boundaries without certification was an even worse option. Lacey Act violations can send a fish farmer into bankruptcy. – Drew Mitchell to the rescue!
Drew Mitchell does not wear a Superman cape, but he does have the skills and experience to provide fish disease diagnostic and certification services. Equally important, he has a conscience and a commitment to service. Drew retired from a long research and extension career at the Fish Farming Experimental Laboratory (now known as the Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center). The need for his expertise was great, and Drew responded to the call. Disease certification services for Arkansas fish farmers were restored.
He plans to retire again, but not until the Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratories are fully staffed and operating at full service levels. And ever the modest, professional man, he states that the services of the Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratories are a team effort, and the job is bigger than any single person.