The Alabama Fish Farming Center serves as a base of operations for several ongoing research projects aimed at increasing the sustainability of Alabama and U.S. aquaculture. Research is conducted in collaboration with industry partners (feed mills, catfish processors, etc.), commercial aquaculture producers, USDA-ARS and Auburn University faculty, staff and students to help increase the sustainability and competitiveness of U.S. aquaculture.
Blooms of toxic phytoplankton, including cyanobacteria, plague aquaculture production ponds given that some cyanobacteria can produce (1) potent toxins that can kill fish and (2) off-flavor compounds that make fish taste earthy. Controlling algal blooms is complicated given that nutrient management is difficult in active aquaculture ponds.
West Alabama is home to a very unique marine shrimp farming industry that utilizes inland low salinity artesian groundwater as the culture medium. Marine shrimp farms are located in Greene, Lowndes, and Sumter counties at distances greater than 150 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The culture of shrimp in this environment presents several unique challenges related to production.
Commercial catfish farming in the state of Alabama has been hit hard in recent years with significant losses due to bacterial disease outbreaks. Auburn University and the Alabama Fish Farming Center in west Alabama have been conducting trials on a commercial farm in Hale county to investigate different methods for controlling disease outbreaks.