Aquaculture is a big business in Alabama, contributing more than $160 million to the state’s economy each year. For a team of scientific experts in Auburn’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, finding methods, technologies and strategies that improve efficiency, productivity and profitability on aquaculture operations across the state is the overarching research goal. The specific areas of research are diverse and include:
- Developing and fine tuning novel production techniques for catfish producers.
- Discovering management practices to enhance inland shrimp production in west Alabama and testing the feasibility of farming hybrid bass and other marine species in the region’s low-salinity groundwater.
- Advancing an emerging off-shore oyster culture along Alabama’s Gulf Coast and exploring the potential for clam farming.
- Studying the economics of aquaculture production, from consumer demand for aquaculture and seafood products to the economic impact of recreational fisheries.
For producers, feed accounts for as much as 50 percent of production costs, so providing optimal, species-specific diet formulations that maximize fish growth and health and yield superior products is key to profitability. That’s why, in our aquatic animal nutrition research program, the emphasis is on:
- Understanding the nutritional requirements of economically important fish and shellfish species.
- Developing practical diet formulations that optimize the growth rate, feed efficiency and health of key farmed species.
- Developing commercial rations for use in supplemental-feed systems.
- Investigating the impact of supplemental feed formulations on a culture system’s nutrient levels.
- Studying feeding techniques and practices.
- Focus on determining nutritional requirements for fish and shrimp, developing practical diet formulations and influence of diet formulations on nutrient loading of culture systems.