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Aquaculture Industry Support and Technology Transfer

Issue: Agricultural Profitability and Sustainability

Description:

Aquaculture interests have been from small farmers and farmers wanting to change from poultry or row crops to aquaculture. Species of interest include catfish, sport fish, tilapia, freshwater prawns, trout, alligators, koi carp, and ornamental fish. Catfish production is more profitable due to higher prices for catfish and lower feed costs. Bluegill sunfish and largemouth bass culture as food fish rather than sport fish is an emerging interest. Aquaponics and tank culture of tilapia, catfish, and bluegill sunfish has risen in the interests of Georgia farmers, small land holders, and communities.  There is a great desire to produce addition revenue from small land holdings, produce high quality and local food, and to control risk by diversifying products between fish and plants.

Trend:

High feed costs require examination of fish species that can utilize natural foods. Networking among fish producers should be investigated as a means to lower feed costs through bargaining. Commercial aquaponics technology should be developed in a model package. Requests from members of the Georgia Aquaculture Association include technology on bluegill sunfish culture, alternative protein in feeds for catfish, and technical information on suitable aquaculture species for Georgia.  New feed sources for aquaculture include brewing and distilling byproducts, insect protein, aquatic plants and algae, and feed probiotics.  Food safety methods in aquaponics must be demonstrated and verified in those enterprises and Extension support is important for development of food safety understanding among stakeholders.  Cooperation between several institutions and units who have aquaponics interests is important to moving forward to provide technical support for successful enterprise development.

Resources:

  • Digital Slide Show (PowerPoint) Presentation
  • Fact Sheets / Departmental Publications
  • Individual Assistance / Consultations
  • Speakers and Presenters for County Based Training Opportunities
  • Business plan development for new aquaculture enterprises
  • Workshops at UGA Tifton aquaculture unit

Faculty:

Gary J. Burtle