Tony Vaught has been in aquaculture for 46 years. He started as a summer employee and became a manager, consultant and industry leader. He is a pioneer in sturgeon farming and founded a consulting firm to share his knowledge. Vaught is passionate about the future of aquaculture and believes technology is key to its success. He recently joined the team at AQUA Sightline, a data-driven aquaculture app.

Tony Vaught
Tony Vaught

Tony Vaught’s 46-Year Journey in Aquaculture

Tony Vaught’s journey in aquaculture spans an impressive 46 years, making him a true pioneer and trailblazer in this dynamic industry. From humble beginnings as a summer employee out of college to becoming a renowned expert, consultant, and industry leader, Vaught’s story is one of relentless passion, innovation, and a deep commitment to advancing aquaculture in the United States.

Vaught’s aquaculture career began in 1978 when he took a summer job at a fish farm near Chico, California. Within just three months, he was promoted to manager, learning on the job and utilizing whatever resources were available. In 1985, Vaught was tasked with building and managing a new fish farm focused on the cultivation of white sturgeon, a species that was relatively new to aquaculture at the time. Collaborating with the University of California, Davis, and a group of Northern California farmers, Vaught’s team was able to develop successful techniques for sturgeon farming, which have since been adopted worldwide. This pioneering work helped establish sturgeon as a thriving $50-75 million industry in California.

In 1988, Vaught decided to venture out on his own, leasing the original farm he had managed in Chico and forming Professional Aquaculture Services. He specialized in warm-water fish species, including sturgeon, striped bass, channel catfish, and largemouth bass, providing fish for other farms, public and private stocking, and the live fish market in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the next 30 years, Vaught continued to expand and innovate, developing a domestic strain of striped bass that is now being grown in seawater off the coast of Mexico and sold as a premium sashimi product.

Recognizing the need for aquaculture consulting and the importance of sharing knowledge, Vaught founded ProAqua Advisor, a consulting firm, recreational pond and lake stocking business, and an online store for aquaculture supplies and equipment. He has contracted with companies entering the aquaculture space, and new and emerging sectors, and has worked on state and federal restoration projects. Vaught’s deep expertise and collaborative spirit have also led him to serve in various leadership roles, including as one of the founders and the current president of the California Aquaculture Association. He has also sat on numerous advisory boards for government agencies and public/private aquaculture initiatives.

“As I look back on the past 46 years in aquaculture I am very excited about its future in the US,” says Tony Vaugt, Aquaculture consultant with AQUA Sightline. “More and more government officials and farmers on the front line are becoming aware of the need to secure a domestic source of seafood and reduce our heavy reliance on imports. There are new federal programs and initiatives aimed at supporting aquaculture development, as well as the advancements in technology, sustainable feed, and data-driven decision-making that are poised to drive the industry forward.”

Tony Vaught’s remarkable career is a testament to the power of passion, innovation, and collaboration in the aquaculture industry. His pioneering work, entrepreneurial spirit, and tireless efforts to share knowledge and advance the field have made him a true legend in the industry. As the aquaculture landscape continues to evolve, Vaught’s vision and expertise will undoubtedly continue to shape the future of this vital food production sector. 

Tony is the recipient of the prestigious Joseph P. McCarren Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to the Aquaculture Industry Award. He has also co-authored publications on species selection and fish stocking strategies.

With his deep expertise and commitment to the aquaculture field, Tony is an outstanding addition to the team at Sightline Systems and AQUA Sightline

 “I have realized that aquaculture needs to embrace technology to grow, increase profitability, and help provide healthy sources of protein to our growing population,” says Vaught. “When I met the AQUA Sightline team, learned about their long history in data and analytics, and saw all that they are working on joining their team was a no-brainer and I could not be happier to be working with them.”

The AQUA Sightline app is at the forefront of modern data-driven aquaculture while being affordable and easy to operate from the palm of your hand. From projected harvest dates and feed recommendations to water quality analytics, AQUA Sightline puts the data you need at your fingertips and provides the real-time alerts you need to react quickly and make the best decisions for your bottom line every time. The real strength of AQUA Sightline is the fact that it is built upon 30 years of experience in data, analytics, and security with its parent company, Sightline Systems.

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AQUA Sightline is a powerful mobile app that operates even without a constant internet connection, is easy to use, and is already available in stores for Android and iOS devices.