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Workshop introduces attendees to the potentials of aquaculture

Published: 12/02/13 4:31PM
By: booner

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Dr. Pat Duncan, director of the Georgia Center for Aquaculture Development housed at Fort Valley State University, shows workshop attendees how an aquaponic system works during a tour of aquaculture facilities Nov. 14.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the demand for seafood will increase by more than 70 percent in the next 30 years. Due to this increased need, more people are looking into the practice of aquaculture.

Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants in a controlled marine or freshwater environment.

To help educate individuals about aquaculture, Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program offers workshops through the Georgia Center for Aquaculture Development (GCAD). On Nov. 14, Dr. Pat Duncan, director of the GCAD, conducted a workshop called “Expanding Opportunities in Aquaculture” at the center housed on FVSU’s campus.

Duncan taught workshop attendees techniques concerning feeding systems, seafood safety, financing fish farms and how to be successful using the practice of aquaponics.

“This year’s workshop in November had three times the number of attendees than the same workshop last year,” Duncan said. She said the popularity of the workshops can be tied in to the growing opportunities in aquaculture.

Duncan said since the GCAD opened its doors in 2003, more than 12,000 visitors toured the aquaculture greenhouses at FVSU. One of those visitors is Willie Cullers, a native of Athens who has attended previous workshops on campus. Cullers said he plans to use the information he received to improve his operation by increasing the number of fish tanks and grow beds he owns.

Cullers said he would recommend the workshop to anyone interested in the field of aquaculture. “The details that are covered in this workshop are very helpful to beginners and advanced growers. It helps both,” Cullers said.

Duncan said the GCAD will continue to educate new and existing aquaculture producers through workshops, tours and demonstrations as the industry becomes more popular in Georgia. She also said she sees domestic aquaculture production rising because seafood that is currently imported will decline. “The great amount of seafood that is imported will be needed in the Asian countries by 2030, so imports will not be readily available. Opportunities for U.S. produced seafood will only increase,” Duncan said.

For more information about aquaculture and future workshops, contact Duncan at 478-283-2012 or 478-825-6335. She can also be reached by e-mail at duncanp@fvsu.edu.