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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Aquaculture conference attracts participants from around globe

By Lynn Davis

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 03 - September 12, 1996

The CFAST (Commercial Fish and Shellfish Technologies) partners at Virginia Tech recently hosted a successful conference at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on the successes and failures in commercial recirculating aquaculture.

More than 525 persons from across America and 26 other countries attended. "Aquaculture is the wave of the future because the natural supplies of fish are running out," said George Libey, director of Virginia Tech's recirculating aquaculture facility, the largest of its kind for research.

"With aquaculture expanding throughout the world, 20 percent of this decade's global fish and fishery products are now produced on fish farms," Libey said. "The U.S. has lagged behind other countries but is finally realizing that finding a way to capture more of the world market could aid rural areas in developing their economies and creating jobs. The industry is clean and does not pollute."

George Flick, coordinator of Virginia Tech's CFAST and Sea Grant programs, said "most Virginians do not realize that their state is the third-largest producer of fish and shellfish in the nation. In trout aquaculture, Virginia ranks number nine and in live tilapia production is first."

Bill Martin, CEO of the world's largest commercial indoor fish aquaculture facility in Martinsville and a beneficiary of Virginia Tech's research, spoke frankly about the difficulties that face a fish farmer. Other keynote speakers included Jim McVey, aquaculture program leader for the National Sea Grant College Program, and Gary Jensen, Extension aquaculture coordinator for USDA

CFAST, one of the sponsors of the conference, is a collaborative effort among four colleges on campus: Engineering, Forestry and Wildlife Resources, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture.

(Please see related photo on page 4)