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Jade Anderson

Marine Farm Worker

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The last thing Jade Anderson expected when he started his job as a marine farm worker five years ago was to win a Young Achievers Award. "I won the award at a mussel conference in 2002. It was great because I proved to everyone that I could achieve quite a lot. I started off right at the bottom as a cadet and worked my way up - now I'm one of the relieving skippers for the company."

After he left school Jade completed a marine farming cadet course, where he learned about marine farm maintenance, sourcing, harvesting and seeding. "I also did six weeks in a hatchery learning about some of the biological processes associated with marine farming such as spawning and fertilisation. Then I ended up skippering a farm maintenance vessel."

Jade now helps to look after and maintain approximately 800 lines of greenshell mussels around the Marlborough Sounds, which involves visiting up to 10 different farms a day. "We're always outside travelling around the outer Sounds, which is much nicer than being stuck in an office behind a computer."

Four days a week are spent on the boat, and during this time it is not uncommon for Jade to work up to 50 hours. His days are filled with maintaining floats, and tightening, repairing and submerging lines of mussels. "When the workload gets busy I also skipper the boat. When I'm skippering it's important to make sure the boat is functioning properly - you have to check the oil and water, seacocks (valves) and all the safety equipment."

Jade also has experience with seeding and harvesting mussels, and says it's important to monitor the weather at these times as wind and high tidal flows can have a big impact on the final product. "It definitely gives you a bit of a buzz to see the mussels grow and develop."

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