WHO AM I?
"Learn from the mistakes of others, you can't afford to repeat them"
A note from Doug Burdette,
Before I begin telling you who I am, let me tell you who I am not. I am not a salesman of parts, components or snake oil. I
have nothing to provide you except all of the experience and expertise I have gained from over 40 years in the aquaculture
Our family owned aquaculture business is divided into to different divisions these days. My Sons Mike and Brian have
been working with me since they were toddlers. There is no part of the business they do not understand from equipment
to technology to raising fish. While they own the specialized equipment manufacturing under the name Burdette
Industries and I continue to work as the consultant, designer and engineer, we all work together. When you become the
client of any one of us, you are the client of all of us. It is my job to design the systems and components for a first class
aquaculture machine, it is their job to build these precision components and help you get your system up and running.
After that it is the responsibility of all of us to see to it that you get all of the technical support you need to operate an
efficient, profitable business. (See Burdette Industries.com)
I was fortunate enough to have been born at exactly the right time to enter the new modern science of aquaculture back in
the 1960's. I and a handful of other young engineers across the country and around the world reconized the that the
future of seafood would some day depend on our ability to move from massive pond cultures to more intensive indoor
systems. We all had one thing in common, we were experimenters who literally started out growing fish in bath tubs and
continually devised new filters, tanks and other components to keep the water clean so the fish could have a good
environment to live in. From those early experiments indoor recirculating aquaculture system have evolved into the state
of the art systems that are now producing nearly 20% of all the seafood on the markets today.
All of the pictures you see on my website were taken at a research and development center that I operated for almost 35
years. All of the devises and components you see on this site are ones I either invented, developed or refined during this
period. When I design a system or work with other designers and incorporate any of these devises into the system I do so
with 100% confidence it will work. I know this because I have tested it over and over again in my own facility at my own
expense. I never use my client as a researcher. I never say, "I think this will work." I know it will work. Otherwise I won't do
it. I do not take the failure of my clients gracefully.
In the almost 40 years I have been involved in the research and development and design of intensive aquaculture systems
for the rearing of fish, I have made some massive mistakes. I tell people that I know very little about what makes a fish ;ive
well and grow, however, I have a long list of things you should never do or you are going to kill them. The fact of the
matter is, it is from learning from mistakes of the past that make one a good fish grower. The trick is to not repeat those
mistakes. This list of past mistakes then takes on a whole new definition. It is called "EXPERIENCE"
One of the first mistakes so many beginning fish farmers make is getting bad advice from "Consultants" who have never
grown fish commercially but have a "Terrific" design for a system that they are pretty sure will work. Most of these folks
have spent many years in research and development of fish systems, just as we have. The only problem is, most of the
time it is their clients who are footing the bill for their research by hiring them to install their next experiment. After the
equipment is installed or assembled it is up to the fish farm owner to now figure out how to make the contraption work
and grow fish. The consultant is long gone, seeking his next client.
I take a different approach. My systems and components are all of proven designs and I would not think of getting
someone started without providing the long term follow up of advising and training it takes to make the operation viable.
In fact, this is not even an option. When someone uses my designs and services I follow up on my own. If there is
something wrong I want to know and I am going to fix it. Sometimes this isn't even the system. It is poor management.
That can be corrected as well.
It seems that everyday there is someone new coming out of the woodwork who have some new scheme or device or
ways of doing things. As recently as 5 years ago if you had searched for aquaculture/aquaponics you might have found 5
listings. Today everyone is an expert and they are taking a very non professional competitive approach to the science.
They seem to be out to make a quick buck and then move on to the next client. This has been especially true of
I recently had someone tell me they had asked someone advertising on the internet as being experts in aquaponics if they
knew anything about me. Their response was, "Yes. I have heard that his system doesn't work and he doesn't provide
follow up support." i don't suppose I have to explain my reaction. First of all, I don't know them and they don't know me.
Secondly, it is well documented that it was at my research facility that aquaponics was first developed on a commercial
scale back in 1978. Third, if it doesn't work how do you explain all of those pictures on my site? Finally, ok, so they know
something about aquaponics, what do they know about the aquaculture side of things? Without this the whole thing is a
My entire career as an engineer and consultant has mostly been in working with others designing massive systems for
deep pocketed corporations. Almost all of these have been overseas because aquaculture in the US was lagging far
behind the rest of the world. This is why today at least 60% of all aquacultured products consumed in the US are imported
from fish farms in Asia. Today this trend is changing as consumers in the US have developed an awareness of the quality
of food they eat and concerns about how it was grown. They would much rather buy products locally grown.
I too have changed my focus as I am now getting older and want to work to use my experience to help start up farmers in
the US get into the business to get our domestic production moving forward. I am now in a position to spend my time
helping you at a fee you can afford instead of worrying about taking on high salaried big jobs.
Recently I started the S-2005 program to help people get started with a proven design system that would cost several
thousand dollars to have custom designed. There is no way I can make any money providing this set drawings and giving
unlimited consulting, but the program was not intended to be a profit source. It is my way trying to make a difference in the
country while I still can. You can see the details about this program by clicking here.
My consulting services can cover all phases of Aquaculture needs. Included are:
Feasibility Studies----Before you can begin any new project a feasibility study must be completed to determine if the
proposed design will work in your area and if not what changes have to made to accomplish your goals. These are
generally fairly detailed and include not only the cost of construction and materials but the availability of supplies and
services to determine the cost of the operation and a study to identify the markets for the finished product and potential
profitability of the operation. Many businesses, including fish farms have failed because these studies were not performed
and unexpected cost occurred during construction or, although the concept of fish farming for that area was good, the
selected equipment was wrong and the system would need an expensive upgrade to be efficient. My rates for these
studies is the most reasonable in the industry and I can assure you, this is money well spent in the long run. It is much
better to invest this small amount of money and be safe than to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars and find that you
were on the wrong path from the start.
Business Plans---A must for every business. You know where you stand in the beginning and you know what you want
from the business, but how are you going to get from here to there? The major reason for any business failure is lack of
adequate finances. Business plans show you the schedule from that first day you open your doors how your business is
going to operate, when the target dates for certain aspects should occur and how your cash will flow. If there are going to
be problems down the line you need to be able to predict them well in advance and prepare to overcome them. Business
plans are generally built into the feasibility study. Over the years I have prepared business plans that have lead to the
successful funding of many aquaculture projects large and small.
---I do not have a list of people or banks ready and waiting to lend money for new aquaculture businesses. However, I do
know how to locate funding in almost all areas of the world and I do know how to prepare the paper work and sell worthy
projects to potential investors and lending institutions. As a part of my services when I assist you with the feasibility study
and business plans we work with you to provide all of the answers a lender will ask and will even attend meetings with
you and your money source. For international companies located in countries eligible for funds from sources such as The
World Bank, US-AID, or the US Import/Export bank I can assist you in the preparations of all the necessary documents
required to achieve this funding. In the US we can assist you in locating money from sources such as USDA, local
economic development, small business administration, etc. The irony of life is that the people who would make the best
fish farmers in the world generally do not have the skills or background to achieve funding on their own. Too many times
people spend big bucks on accountants to help them prepare their business plans only to get turned down time and
again by lenders. This is because the numbers and cash flows in the plans are only a small part of what the banker wants
to see. He wants to see that the new farmer has access to experience in the fish farming business. It is this experience I
bring to the table to help you.
----Free life time technical supports comes with any system I design for fish farmers. For those who have systems
designed by others I also offer similar support. Do you have an older system that you would like to upgrade? Do you have
a design that you are considering, but would like an evaluation from someone else? I can help you. Just write to me via
e-mail. The initial consultation is free.
WE ARE TWO COMPANIES----WORKING AS ONE