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Day-tripping across the Gulf

- 25,000 farmed Sea Trout on the move and copepod feed research by Tom Blacker, International Aquafeed Tom (right) with a fish farmer at the reed beds

The trout transport tank on the back of a trailer

On Monday 24th February 2015, Tom Blacker of IAF visited two special scientific research sites for aquaculture. He followed the journey of 25,000 trout from the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Gulf Coast Research Laboratory – The Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Centre’s RAS system near Gulfport and Biloxi - to the Lyman Fish Hatchery. He reports below on copepods, trout and more from Mississippi, USA


ravelling from New Orleans with a group of around 40 delegates from the Aquaculture America 2015 conference, the first faces welcoming our group on one of six mini tours of the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Centre were researchers Michael and Adam. Adam was a leading researcher of copepods and actively works with Dr Eric Henry from Reed Mariculture in using their InstantAlgae products. Adam explained that non-algal live diets are his research area of specialism at the moment and he is looking to produce around 500,000,000 (that’s half a billion) copepods per week. He admits to an ambition of being part of the Centre’s goal to be the world leader in copepod production. These will be used for feed trials. After a stint researching many different aquaculture species in Hawaii he prefers now to work with slightly looser regulations on imports and exports of fish and supplies in Mississippi. He explained in detail that feeding sea

trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) rotifers result in unpredictable outcomes whereas copepods are better, after much hard work to develop it fully. Also red snappers are efficient consumers of copepods. There were many buildings at the Centre over its 20ha (45 acres) of space for aquaculture, each housing different species and for different research experiments. There were some Integrated Recycling System raceways for shrimp, RAS tanks for red snapper and trout as well in the Centre’s complex. An outside greenhouse in the centre cultivates and fixes waste-water produced by the site. Water reeds were growing for both marsh research into environmentally friendlier aquaponics for the Centre and beyond. They hope to expand aquaponics to fix water for use on the water produced from the shrimp raceways as well as being sustainable.

Following the tour bus

At around mid-morning of the tour, the 25,000 trout were counted by hand and

then pumped into the stainless steel trailer on the back of a USM truck. The truck then followed the tour’s bus from Jackson County to Harrison County to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Lyman Fish Hatchery Centre which is located 30 miles north-west on Fish Hatchery Road, just off the Little Bilox River and Interstate 10. The leader at the Lyman Fish Hatchery is Dr Kelly Lucas, the Chief Scientific Director of the DMR. Dr Lucas gave a brief history of his 113ha (280 acre) site: the Hatchery began in the early 1930s and transferred to the DMR in 2007. From 2008 they have broadened their remit into both freshwater and saltwater species for research and commercial partners. First, we visited a new building at the western end of the site, which is being converted from a veterinary centre to a new visitor’s centre. After this the tour went around the large lakes on the eastern side. The lakes are saltwater and are manually salinated with salt purchased in large quantities and at a large expense for the hatchery and stored in large blue upright tanks. The dramatic action of the day was the pumping out of the 25,000 trout into one of the 0.2ha (half-acre) lined ponds. Michael from the GCRL held the pump. With a continually fast rate of pumping, he

The hatchery RAS system with the trout waiting to be moved to the ponds

Leading the tour at the Lyman fish hatchery was Dr Kelly Lucas, Chief Scientific Officer of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources 34 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | March-April 2015

Mar | Apr 2015 - International Aquafeed magazine  

The March - April 2015 edition of International Aquafeed magazine

Mar | Apr 2015 - International Aquafeed magazine  

The March - April 2015 edition of International Aquafeed magazine