Senior Management at Advance Africa

Professor Emeritus Thomas Hecht (PHD)

Prof Tom Hecht is regarded as a leading authority in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science throughout Africa and the West Indian Ocean region.

Tom brings 40 years’ of science, research and industry development experience to Advance Africa, making it one of the most qualified consulting companies in this subject matter. Tom is highly regarded by his peers and has published in excess of 150 peer reviewed scientific papers.

Grant Merrick

Grant is a founding member of Advance Africa and specialises in the assessment of the economic feasibility of new and existing agricultural and aquaculture businesses.

Grant has in excess of 25 years’ experience in operational and general management of large agricultural and aquaculture businesses, allowing him to apply such first-hand experience in assessing new businesses and approaches to business development.

Fred Formanek

Fred is a founding member of Advance Africa and is currently the Managing Member. He has in excess of 25 years’ experience in project and business development and has served on numerous boards in Southern Africa for companies specialising in Agriculture and Aquaculture.

Fred brings solid large-scale project management and business development experience to the Group. Furthermore, Fred is the core member of the team with regards to market related assessments of aquaculture products, with significant experience in market research and development in Asia .

Franco Giovanni Pellegrini

Franco has led many development and design teams throughout Africa on behalf of Public and Private sector organizations.

The work Franco has successfully undertaken spans most sectors and elements of the built environment including: complete new towns with all aspects of associated infrastructure and services (for new mining projects), hospitals, schools, commercial and industrial developments, airports and harbour infrastructure.


  • Hecht, T. 2017. Key differentiators for sustainable aquaculture. World Aquaculture Symposium, Cape Town, July 2017.
  • Hecht, T.  2008. ReCoMap (EU) Assessment of smallscale mariculture opportunities in Seychelles, Kenya and Mauritius. 2007/2008.
  • Hecht, T. 2007. FAO report: Reduction fisheries in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Hecht, T., Uys, W. and Britz, P.J. (Eds).  A guide to the culture of the sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus in southern Africa. South African National Scientific Programmes Report. (153): 62 ‑ 72.
  • Hecht. 1996. South African Dept. of Water Affairs and Forestry – Water Quality Guidelines for Aquaculture.
  • Hecht, T. and Jones, C.L.W. 2009. Use of wild fish and other aquatic organisms as feed in aquaculture – a review of practices and implications in Africa and the Near East.
  • M.R. Hasan and M. Halwart (eds). Fish as feed inputs for aquaculture: practices, sustainability and implications. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 518. Rome, FAO. pp. 129–157.
  • Potts, W., Hecht, T. & Andrew, T.G. 2008. Does reservoir trophic status influence the feeding and growth of the sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Teleostei: Clariidae)? African Journal of Aquatic Science, 33 (2): 149-156.
  • Hecht, T. 2001. Strategies and measures for sustainable aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Invited paper presented at: Expert Consultation On Indicators Of Sustainable Aquaculture Development , Rome, Italy, 24 – 27 September 2001.
  • Both , A.J and Hecht, T. 2000. Utilisation of South Africa’s living marine resources. In: Summary Marine Biodiversity Status Report for South Africa. Durham, B.D. & Pauw, J.C. (eds). Pp. 57 – 67. National Research Foundation, Pretoria.