Fisheries science, aquaculture get new looks at UT Martin
Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 12:49 pm
The Messenger 11.03.10
Students at the University of Tennessee at Martin are studying one of the fastest-growing food production industries while they receive training in alternative agriculture and natural resources management.
In response to the need for fisheries studies and research on aquaculture practices, UT Martin has recently revamped the natural resources management major/wildlife and fisheries biology concentration offered by the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources.
New equipment has been installed at the Aquaculture Teaching and Research Center.
“Fish are an important source of protein for most of the world’s population; however, the world fish stocks have been declining,” said Dr. Bradley Ray, assistant professor of fisheries science. “Approximately 80 percent of wild-caught fisheries are either fully exploited or being overfished; therefore, aquaculture needs to be able to produce food for the growing human population. With the facilities we have on campus, we can do our small part in increasing productivity of aquaculture while decreasing the negative affects of overfishing.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, aquaculture has a 6.9 percent annual growth rate since 1970 and is on pace to out produce beef production this year. Currently, aquacultured species account for 47 percent of all fish consumed in the world.
As part of the recent UT Martin initiative, an experimental indoor aquaculture facility was created with four 1,500-gallon recirculating systems, for a total of 6,000 gallons. These four systems will be used in conjunction with the six- tenth-acre ponds on campus to conduct research and as class demonstrations. Currently, tilapia are housed in an indoor facility for trial purposes. In January, 6,000 tilapia will be grown in the indoor facility until April, when they will be moved outdoors for the final grow out. Tilapia are among the easiest and most profitable fish to farm.
The facility will allow for numerous undergraduate research opportunities, which may include eight-week feeding trials to seven-month replicated experiments to examine different water sources, feeding rates and feed ingredients.
During the fall semester each year, students in the principles of aquaculture course will be involved in the daily feeding and water quality assessments as part of course requirements to better prepare them for careers in aquaculture and animal science.
“Having this facility will also allow supervised independent research for undergraduate students,” Ray said. “Faculty members in the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources, along with faculty from the Department of Biological Sciences, will also have access to the facility and the animals that are kept within the facility.”
Kaleb Stratton, a Spring-field senior, is enrolled in the wildlife and fisheries biology concentration.
“Aquaculture is a rising industry in our economy. In this class, we have been able to not only study aquaculture in the classroom, but in our own facility and other aquaculture facilities as well,” Stratton said. “I am interested in wildlife and fisheries law enforcement, and within aquaculture you must have the proper permits and allowed species in your facility. Enforcement of rules and regulations in aquaculture is crucial to the environment and populations, as with any type of fish and wildlife regulations. The neatest part of the class is having hands-on experience raising tilapia in our own facility.”
For more information, contact Ray at email@example.com.
aquaculture, fisheries, University of Tennessee at Martin