Gilbert Patterson, VMD, traveled to the Los Lagos region in Chile for the Farm to Table Program with support from the Veterinary Pioneers in Public Health fund in 2015. There, Patterson and his colleagues traveled to various fish processing plants and hatcheries, as well as beef and milk farms and processing plants.
Patterson and his peers learned about how protein for human consumption is produced and how its production systems will need to adapt to an increasing population. “Knowing that resources for increased land based protein production will be scarce,” says Patterson, “A key question is how protein production in the world’s seas can be expanded.”
Exposure to many salmon production plants and farms led Patterson to conclude that aquaculture is an up-and-coming industry that presents many food security solutions and new career opportunities for veterinarians. “The global aquaculture industry is poised for tremendous growth in the coming decades,” says Patterson. “Veterinarians will be crucial for the successful development of this new frontier of food production. As with all types of agriculture, experts are needed to address issues such as animal health and husbandry, antibiotic use, food safety, and environmental impact. Veterinarians trained in public health are in a unique position to address these challenges head-on.”
Now, Patterson is an assistant professor of veterinary medicine, as well as a program manager and principal researcher in the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia, at Lincoln Memorial University.