Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 7
Winter 1992
Furnishing facts and figures for fin farmers
     Aquaculture is making a big splash in Delaware these days.
     To buoy a growing interest in fish farms and crayfish crops, the
state Department of Agriculture and the University have established
the Delaware Aquaculture Resource Center at the College of Marine
Studies complex in Lewes.
     Located on the second floor of Cannon Laboratory, the center
opened in October, and its library is brimming with magazines,
periodicals, Cooperative Extension fact sheets, videos, books and
catalogs. Individuals also can use center computers to conduct a
national search for specific aquaculture operations, whether they are
interested in producing high value softshell crabs or decorative water
lilies. The center also will provide advisers to work with aquatic
farmers, much as extension agents help farmers with field crops.
     Two publications specific to Delaware already have been prepared
by John Ewart, center director and a marine advisory specialist in the
college. "Aquaculture in Delaware: Potential and Future Prospects" and
"Delaware Aquaculture Resource Guide" are now available, and a guide
to aquaculture regulations and information on crayfish production will
be completed soon. For copies, call Ewart at (302) 645-4060.
     Research support for the center will be provided by Kent Price,
who resigned his position as the college's associate dean to work on
the new aquaculture initiative. Price, who helped develop the
college's controlled-environment mariculture program for oysters,
clams and mussels in the 1970s, will work on several new courses in
aquaculture, and he plans to set up demonstration projects with major
food-processing companies.
     Price says he believes there is a good market for all types of
seafood as Americans become increasingly health conscious. He says
that raising hybrid striped bass in ponds and tanks may be one of the
best aquaculture possibilities in Delaware because the native striped
bass, known locally as rockfish, already is recognized by consumers as
a food fish. However, he says, more research is needed on feed,
genetics, disease control and marketing of the hybrid, which is a
cross of striped bass with white bass.
     Bait fish, channel catfish, clams, oysters and blue crabs also
have potential for commercial production by Delaware's aquatic farmers
and small businesses.