Farm stint hooks youngsters

Three days spent learning the ropes and helping out on a salmon farm has been a unique experience for two year 11 Queen Charlotte College students.

Luke Dixon, 16, and Scott Hodson, 15, spent part of their school holiday, from Monday to Wednesday, working on New Zealand King Salmon's Ruakaka salmon farm as part of the college's gateway programme.

The teens are in a group of more than 50 year 11, 12 and 13 students who study aquaculture at school, with holiday work earning them extra credits.

"It was a great experience - I would recommend it to anyone," said Luke.

"Everyone was really friendly . . ."

One of the main jobs the students helped with was transporting 1800 juvenile salmon to dietary feeding pens on Monday and Tuesday. They then helped with other work around the farm and were rewarded for their efforts with an adult salmon each to take home.

Queen Charlotte College gateway co-ordinator Marama Burgess said the college and King Salmon had worked together for the past five years giving students a chance to do on-the-job learning.

Students also spent time on mussel farms in the Pelorus Sound and gained a lot of real-world knowledge from the exposure.

"Aquaculture is an optional subject but there is a lot of interest in it," Ms Burgess said. "There are many pathways that one can go down in aquaculture - it's not just about fish farming."

New Zealand King Salmon Queen Charlotte Sounds regional manager Salvador Delgado Oro said he was impressed with the two students and would be happy to have them back.

"This experience can give them a different perspective of the course they are studying and background that helps to develop them into next-generation fish farmers," Mr Delgado Oro said.

The Marlborough Express