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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 starts today

By Netta Smith-Benton

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 35 - July 16, 1998

More than 500 producers, potential producers, academics, regulators, equipment manufacturers and salespersons, and investors will gather at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center Thursday-Sunday, July 16-19, to learn more about recirculating agriculture. They will come from all over the United States and 21 other countries to attend the Second International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture. Attendees will come from nations including Japan, Australia, Israel, People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Norway, Peru, France, United Kingdom, and Argentina.
Native stocks of fish are dwindling, but world-wide consumption is up. In the United States, annual per-capita consumption of fish is 15 pounds. Recirculating aquaculture provides a way to meet the demands within the confines of environmental concerns and limited space for ponds.
Around the world, interest in recirculating aquaculture is great, and researchers and producers at Virginia Tech and in Southwest Virginia are leaders in the field. One of the largest such systems in the United States is located in Martinsville.
According to George Flick, university distinguished professor of food science and technology, a two-acre recirculating aquaculture tank can be almost as productive as 2,000 acres of ponds. This means producers with a limited amount of land and water can successfully mass-produce fish. Recirculating aquaculture can be used in areas that are not conducive to pond culture because of harsh winter weather, limited water availability, hilly or mountainous land, poor soil, or environmental concerns.
Flick said recirculating aquaculture can provide an alternative commodity that can serve as an income supplement for producers in Southwest Virginia and other areas.
Internationally known speakers will discuss issues related to recirculating aquaculture in symposium sessions, present special sessions through the Agricultural Engineering Society (AES), and conduct a coldwater conference by the Freshwater Institute.
Fred Wheaton, an aquaculture engineer from the University of Maryland, will present the plenary address in the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center's Crystal Ballroom Thursday, July 16, from 8-10 p.m.
Symposium sessions will focus on issues ranging from ways to keep fish healthy and techniques to manage waste to which feeds to use and how to manage the business from an economic standpoint. A session on international recirculating aquaculture systems will feature 74 papers from several nations.
The concurrent technical session sponsored by AES will focus on such issues as the best feeds and filters, system design, construction, operation, and management techniques.
The concurrent Coldwater Conference will focus on alternative strategies to increase profits. Ten speakers from Europe and North America will make presentations on topics including equipment, design, and management. Producers from around the world will discuss increasing production and marketing the product.
More than 40 exhibitors will participate in a trade show from noon Friday, July 17, until 4 p.m. Saturday, July 18. Industry suppliers of equipment and feed will join aquaculture journalists to display their products and provide information about recirculating aquaculture systems. A trade show reception will be held in the Hotel Roanoke Ballroom Friday, July 17, from 6-9 p.m.
Conference attendees will have an opportunity to tour the Virginia Tech Recirculating Aquaculture Center in Blacksburg and the Freshwater Institute Recycle Aquaculture Research Facility in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
For more information or a complete schedule, call George Libey at 1-6805 or e-mail rakestra@vt.edu.