I am passionate about my work!

At BioMar, celebrating a 25th, 30th, and even a 40th or more years’ work anniversary happens quite often as we have many colleagues who have been with us for many years. Elena Planas of BioMar Spain is one of them. She has been – and still is! - an important member of BioMar since 1995. This is her story with her own words. Enjoy reading!

Veterinary medicine and farmed fish is a passion for me. Since 1995, I happily live out my passion as a veterinarian and technical advisor of the BioFarm team for BioMar’s West Mediterranean and North African markets.

I have a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and graduated in 1990. The following four years, I did my thesis in diagnosis of infectious diseases in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology of that university.

Veterinarian in aquaculture

I have worked as a veterinarian in the pathology service of the Dueñas fish feed factory since October 1995, which at that time was run by another feed company until it was acquired by BioMar. With my arrival at the factory, the veterinary assistance service to fish farmers really began. This was, if I may say, the origin of the veterinary service provided by the current BioFarm team in BioMar West Med.

The first years of my professional career I dedicated most of my time to veterinary assistance to freshwater clients in Spain. Due to the growth of marine aquaculture in Spain, little by little I started to dedicate more time to Mediterranean marine species, and to sole, a species with which I have also been working.

It must be said that, in the 1990s and the following decade, there were only a handful of veterinarians in aquaculture in Spain. I think there were only four of us.

Intensive fish pathology courses

I remember with special fondness the pathology courses that I taught to clients in our facilities in Dueñas from 1996 and for 10 years. In those years the knowledge in pathology in aquaculture was scarce in Spain.

These courses always had a lot of acceptance and very good reputation among the technicians and the companies of the sector. The courses had a duration of 2.5 days, in groups of 5-6 people. These were very intensive days with half of the time being theoretical sessions and the other half practical. Despite the heavy amount of knowledge shared and the intensity of the courses, the atmosphere was very warm and pleasant, and we had a good time together. Good links were created between the clients no matter how different they were, it did not matter if they were from the freshwater sector or if they raised sea bass, if they were technicians, operators, or farm managers. And even now, when I meet some of them, we remember these experiences … and how young we were!

Increasing number of markets

When the Dueñas factory was taken over in 2008, BioMar continued to count on me. Since I have become part of the BioMar family, the number of countries that I visited as a veterinary specialist in aquaculture has increased, mainly in the Mediterranean area, like Tunisia, France, Italy, or Croatia, but also outside Europe, for instance Mauritius. My colleagues at BioMar Costa Rica have also asked for my advice as an expert in fish veterinary medicine.

I have continued to teach seminars and training courses also after becoming part of the BioMar team. Now they are with more personalized content depending on the needs of each farmer and the farm.

Combining passion and work

I am passionate about my work! During all these years I have been alternating the diagnostic work at our laboratory with field work on farms. This means traveling, driving and sailing - something that I also enjoy.

My job sometimes requires to be on board at boats observing samples under the microscope or dissecting fish, no matter if the sea is good or bad. I have spent many hours on the bridge or on the deck of the boats, depending on the farms. My hometown Zaragoza is in inland Spain and although I am originating from a somewhat dry region, I am lucky never to get seasick.

At the most critical times of the year from the point of view of disease risk on the fish farms, I can be away from home practically the whole month. But what does that mean for a lover of veterinary medicine and of farmed fish?

Learning never stops

I have contributed to aquaculture with my knowledge and assistance. And aquaculture has given me a lot as well. Being able to tour different fish farms throughout all these years has allowed me to expand my knowledge, continue training, meet and exchange opinions and experiences with a large number of colleagues, farmers, technicians and partners. In these 27 years of profession, I have not stopped learning, from everyone and everything, and this never stops, you always learn. Being part of the BioFarm team and having the possibility to exchange knowledge of within and outside BioMar Group is a great opportunity.