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CFAST given planning funds for new center

By Lynn Davis

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 09 - October 23, 1997

Virginia Tech's CFAST (Commercial Fish and Shellfish Technologies) group led by Agricultural Experiment Station Director Bob Cannell that cuts across four colleges will receive $25,000 to establish a plan for a national recirculating aquaculture center, a program that would build upon Virginia Tech's existing aquaculture facility.
To include teaching, research, and Extension activities in warm freshwater, cold freshwater, and saltwater aquaculture, the center would promote recirculating technology in rural areas where pond and raceway techniques are not feasible.
The Fund for Rural America Program reviewed 461 national proposals on the basis of scientific merit and relevancy and chose Virginia Tech among its 35 recipients. CFAST is comprised of researchers from the colleges of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Forestry and Wildlife Resources, and Engineering.
In developing a strategic plan within the next six months, CFAST will first identify a core group of recirculating aquaculture advisers to include academia, industry, and government.
If the planning is successful, there is a good chance for the university to receive $1 million each year for four years to fund start-up costs of the aquaculture center. After that period, it is expected that the center would be self-supporting. Ten to 12 awards will be made nationally by the Fund for Rural America to a range of projects.
Members of the planning team currently include Mike Jahncke, superintendent of Virginia Tech's Seafood Research and Extension Center in Hampton; Mike Schwarz, aquaculture specialist at the seafood center; Charles Coale, agricultural economics professor; Greg Boardman, environmental engineering associate professor; George Flick, UDP and food-science-and-technology professor; Steve Smith, associate professor of veterinary medicine; George Libey, director of the university's aquaculture facility and associate research professor of fisheries; and Bob Cannell, project director.