With abundant cold-water resources in the west and a long coastline to the east, North Carolina is a natural for aquaculture, and aquaculture is, indeed, among the fastest growing segments of N.C. agriculture. Dr. Tom Losordo, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, puts the total N.C. aquaculture farm gate, processed product and feed value at about $51 million annually. North Carolina has an established trout industry in the west, while in other areas growers are raising tilapia, hybrid striped bass, catfish, crawfish, freshwater prawns, clams and oysters and blue crabs. We also see the beginnings of aquaculture with southern flounder, yellow perch and black sea bass. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences research and extension programs focus on providing growers the information they need to be successful. Hybrid striped bass is a good example. College research made hybrid striped bass production, now worth about $9 million annually, possible in North Carolina. We’re even involved in the production of sturgeon for caviar.
Research and Extension Programs
Striped Bass Gene Map. Dr. Craig Sullivan, William Neal Reynolds Professor of biology, working with Dr. Ron Hodson, retired North Carolina Sea Grant director, has completed a genomic map of the striped bass, the first map for any non-salmonid marine species farmed in the United States.
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Fish Barn. For more than a decade, the NC State Fish Barn program has conducted pioneering research to develop innovative waste treatment technology for freshwater aquaculture.
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Marine Aquaculture Research Center. In 2008, the Fish Barn program was expanded to focus on ways to modify its waste treatment technology for use with brackish and saltwater aquaculture. In 2009 this technology was used in the construction of the new NC State Marine Aquaculture Research Center near Marshallberg, N.C.
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Malaysian Prawns. Malaysian prawns are large, freshwater shrimp-like animals, raised in specially designed earthen ponds. They are also an aquacultural success story in North Carolina, thanks in large measure to the efforts of Mike Frinsko, Extension area aquaculture agent.
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A Sturgeon Story. Before Bill White, a Caldwell County businessman, died of cancer in 2008, he arranged to provide one of the more unusual gifts ever to come to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, controlling interest in a business called La Paz LLC. La Paz, located just outside Lenoir, N.C. in an area called Happy Valley, was developed by Bill White and three friends to raise sturgeon for caviar.
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Fish Farming with Flounder. Europe and Japan are ahead of the United States when it comes to aquaculture with flounder, but we’re catching up, thanks in large measure to the work of scientists like Dr. Harry Daniels. Daniels, professor of biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is working to demonstrate and make available to North Carolina commercial producers practical culture methods for producing fingerling and foodfish flounder. Daniels sees great promise for aquaculture with flounder in North Carolina. He points out the fish have a high market value – wholesale prices typically range from $5-$10 per pound for fresh flounder – and flounder grow well in fresh water. Much of Daniels research is focused on supporting flounder aquaculture. He has succeeded in establishing a population of so-called XX male flounder to be use to produce all-female flounder fingerlings. Female flounder grow two to three times faster and reach maximum sizes that are four to five times greater than males, so the production of all-female fish would have a significant impact on the economics of production by decreasing growout times and improving feed conversion efficiency. Daniels’ research also established the first commercial-scale data on growout characteristics with a full economic analysis of the results. These accomplishments are fundamental steps in the commercialization of flounder culture and will lead to maximizing the economic viability of flounder farming. He also assisted in establishing the first private southern flounder hatchery in the U.S. Current annual production projections for this facility are around 200,000 pounds. Flounder is a high-value aquaculture species with worldwide market appeal, while it can also be grown throughout a large geographic area, according to Daniels. He sees the potential for flounder aquaculture as equal or superior to that of the hybrid striped bass industry, which has enjoyed a growth rate of 20 percent per year for the past 10 years, along with an annual farm-gate value of more than $9 million in North Carolina. The economic potential of flounder farming in the United States could reach five-to-10 times the value of the hybrid striped bass industry within the next 10 years, Daniels says.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty members whose work focuses on corn
Mike Frinsko, Cooperative Extension area specialized agent, aquaculture
PO Box 218
Trenton, NC 28585
252-448-9621 or email@example.com
Dr. David Green, professor of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences and Cooperative Extension seafood specialist
Seafood and Aquaculture Processing
Center for Marine Science and Technology
303 College Circle
Morehead City, NC 28557
252-222-6304 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jeffrey Hinshaw, associate professor of Biology and Cooperative Extension specialist
Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture/Trout
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center
455 Research Drive
Fletcher, NC 28732
828-684-3562 or email@example.com
Dr. Thomas Losordo, professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Cooperative Extension specialist
Aquaculture Engineering/Waste Management Technologies
211 Weaver Administration Building
Raleigh, NC 27695
919-515-6784 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Sandfoss, Cooperative Extension area specialized agent, aquaculture
60 E Court St, Room 226
Marion, NC 28752
828-652-7874 or email@example.com
Skip Thompson, Cooperative Extension area specialized agent, aquaculture
PO Box 308
Waynesville, NC 28786
828-456-3575 or firstname.lastname@example.org