Oceanpick, Sri Lanka’s first oceanic fish farm, has renamed its hatchery as the Alain Michel Hatchery intending to honour and celebrate the immense contributions made by the genius French veteran in the field of Aquaculture. The ceremonial event took place at Oceanpick farms in Trincomalee on 26th January 2023 where it was attended by members of the board of directors, company staff, several dignitaries, as well as virtually by Alain’s family and friends globally.
Alain Michel was the pioneer of shrimp aquaculture and instrumental in the development of the shrimp farming industry in many tropical countries. Born in Versailles, France, in 1937, Michel received a degree in Agriculture Engineering from The National Agronomical Institute and also pursued studies in Oceanography at Paris University. During his long and illustrious career, he has worked for ORSTOM (now IRD – Institute Research and Development), CNEXO, a newly created French government agency, IFREMER in Paris, the Centre Océanologique du Pacifique in Tahiti and pharmaceutical company Sanofi. He also created his microenterprise “Aqua R&D” and registered in France. He is an officer of “ordre National du merite”.
Upon his retirement in 2000, Michel went on to work on barramundi, shrimp and sea cucumber projects around the world. His introduction to Oceanpick farms in Sri Lanka was a result of his expertise being sought to develop the Hatchery for Oceanpick. His initial visit to Sri Lanka was in 2016 to better understand the operations and production of barramundi in South Asia’s largest commercial oceanic finfish farm. Subsequent visits to Sri Lanka focused on the development of the necessary infrastructure and selecting the brood stock for the initial development stage of the Hatchery. Alain Michel continued his work with Oceanpick farms as an advisor, and mentor and was instrumental in developing the immunization programme, preventive methodologies for outbreaks, and boosting the innate immune system to better control aquaculture pathogens.
Reminiscing about his journey with Alain Michel, Oceanpick Founder Irfan Thassim stated, “From inception, Alain Michel developed a keen interest in Oceanpick farms. His knowledge of aquaculture was unparalleled, and his kindness, team spirit and modesty touched all who worked with him. Alain Michel will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and had the opportunity to work with him at Oceanpick.”
Regis Bador, a mentee and contemporary of Alain, and Jumanah Thassim, the daughter of Irfan Thassim, also spoke about Alain Michel. Oceanpick commenced its journey in 2012 in the seas of Trincomalee. Oceanpick’s BAP Star-rated Barramundi, with its distinct oceanic flavour, has made its mark in markets around the world and continues to make great strides across the continents.