For David Melling, his new enterprise is another kettle of fish entirely. For two decades he had a range of jobs — at an abattoir, garden supplies, as a mechanic, driver and laying high-voltage cables — before a workplace injury flattened him.
“I had to find another job. I couldn’t sit behind a computer, I had to be mobile, but couldn’t really work for anyone,” recalls the keen recreational angler.
“I’d just had surgery and was looking at YouTube videos and randomly I came across a channel about small, backyard aquaponics.
“I love fishing and because of my injury — the surgery and medications — I have to eat a clean diet, lots of fruit and vegetables, and so something in me clicked. I bought a home aquaponics system and from that point on I was addicted to it.”
From that small system in 2012, David’s aquaponics operation has come on in bounds. Last year he started commercial production of his Bluestone Aquaponics business, working in old chicken egg sheds on a leased 30-hectare property, at Malmsbury, in central Victoria.
The 43-year-old father of two has created an aquaponics system that combines rainbow trout aquaculture with a chemical-free form of hydroponics, currently cultivating leafy greens in nutrient-rich water.