Roanoke aquaculture conference attracts international industry leaders
By Angela I. Correa
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 06 - October 1, 1998
July's Second International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture, co-sponsored by Virginia Tech, brought more than 500 fish and shellfish industry producers, regulators, equipment manufacturers, researchers and educators to Virginia to discuss their concerns and learn about new developments in their field.
The two-and-a-half day conference, organized by the inter-disciplinary CFAST Group (Commercial Fish and Shellfish Technologies), was held at the Hotel Roanoke, although attendance overflowed to two other nearby hotels.
The bi-annual conference dealt with many aspects of recirculating aquaculture, which has made high-quality fish cultivation possible in areas of limited water availability, with better yields and greater control than most pond aquaculture systems. Internationally known speakers discussed issues ranging from ways to optimize health and nutrition of the fish, management of waste, maintenance of regulatory compliance in the face of changing legislation, and the management of complex economic aspects of an aquaculture business.
Water quality and nitrification issues were discussed in several sessions, and were balanced with attention to the topics of disease control and effective system sanitation, all of which are crucial to the overall health of the fish. Representatives from The Freshwater Institute and the Aquacultural Engineering Society also hosted special sessions which addressed the possibility of new regulations on aquaculture effluent, and a variety of designs for feed and filtration systems.
In attendance were representatives from a number of countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. The U.S. was also well represented. The conference boasted nearly triple the number of trade booths as the 1997 conference, as industry suppliers took the conference as a golden opportunity to display their products and disseminate information.
"The aquaculture industry is in a period of dramatic growth and development, and we intend to keep Virginia Tech at the forefront of those developments," said George Flick, university distinguished professor in food science and technology. Plans are already under way for the Third International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture, slated for the year 2000.
The CFAST Group, funded by Virginia Sea Grant and based at Virginia Tech, provides multi-disciplinary, research-based solutions for the commercial fish and shellfish industries in the areas of food science, fish culture and nutrition, pathology and health, waste management, and economics. Proceedings from the Second International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture are available on CD-ROM or in a bound version; call 1-6805 for more information.