Fish growers served fresh ideas during annual conference Feb. 9-11

Raleigh – Aquaculture, or fish farming, is an integral part of North Carolina’s economy, generating more than $50 million annually and supplying healthy, affordable protein options for consumers.

Fish farmers, retailers, researchers and other aquaculture professionals will gather to glean fresh ideas and discuss current trends at the 24th annual North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference, February 9-11, 2012, at the Riverfront Hilton in New Bern, N.C.

Aquaculture operations supply almost half of the fish and shellfish consumed in North Carolina, easing the fish industry’s ability to meet the demand for fresh fish year-round while keeping prices low and quality high.

“This annual aquaculture conference ultimately benefits anyone who produces, buys, sells and consumes fish and seafood,” says Thomas M. Losordo, Ph.D., a North Carolina State University aquaculture specialist who is the chairman of the conference planning committee.

Featured conference speaker Rob Ellis, a fish farmer in Charlotte, has built a new farm that has the capacity to raise 400,000 pounds of tilapia in North Carolina’s largest metropolitan area each year. Grown in tanks housed in a large warehouse, the tilapia are in a controlled environment with no possibility of being exposed to pollutants. Ninety-five percent of the water used to raise the fish is recycled.

Aquaculture operations supply almost half of the fish and shellfish consumed in North Carolina, easing the fish industry’s ability to meet the demand for fresh fish year-round while keeping prices low and quality high.

Ellis founded Astor Farms in 2009 and sells live tilapia to chefs and Asian markets in North Carolina and cities up and down the East Coast. “Most people find it hard to believe that I can farm within the city limits. Each week we sell as much as 7,500 pounds of the cleanest tilapia you can produce,” Ellis explains.

Another featured speaker during the three-day conference is David Brune, Ph.D., professor of bio-energy engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After researching algae for more than 30 years, he’s discovered a way to use it as biofuel, with little environmental waste. His latest project–researching the use of algae to develop a faster way to grow shrimp while maintaining clean water–could mean more food with less pollution.

The conference begins on Feb. 9 with local fish farm tours that provide attendees hands-on experience with various culture methods, such as ponds and tanks, of different species – hybrid bass, tilapia and prawns. Following presentations on Feb. 10, is the popular AquaFood Fest, featuring ample quantities of the state’s finest farm-raised fish and shellfish. The conference concludes on Feb. 11 with concurrent workshops on the technologies required to succeed in freshwater and marine aquaculture.

Anyone with an interest in fish or shellfish farming, including the general public, current and prospective fish growers, researchers, educators, suppliers, retailers, students or agency personnel with jobs related to aquaculture, is encouraged to attend. Details and registration information is available at www.ncaquaculture.org.


SFNToday.com is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. SFNToday.com presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*