Black Belt Aquaculture Initiative Under Way

The Alabama Legislature has allocated a total of $850,000 to the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) and Alabama Cooperative Extension System to support and expand Alabama’s aquaculture industry and to provide a catalyst for economic development in west Alabama.

Through this initiative AAES and Extension personnel are working in Alabama’s Black Belt to enhance the region’s existing catfish industry, enable newcomers—especially small producers—to get into the business, find ways for current producers to maximize their profits and introduce new technologies and aquacultural crops to the region.

To help current catfish producers maximize their profits, research and extension personnel are focusing on ways to increase profit per acre rather than pounds per acre.

AAES and Extension personnel also are facilitating the transfer of new technology to catfish producers. Additional work is also looking at ways to use catfish processing byproducts for value-added products. And, an economic study is under way to determine the impact of the aquaculture industry in west Alabama today and into the future.

In addition to working with the traditional catfish industry, AAES and Extension System personnel are helping producers identify and produce new high-value aquaculture species such as marine fish and baitfish that can be grown in Black Belt ponds. Much of the groundwater in the Black Belt has an elevated salt content, which may be liquid gold for aquacultural producers willing to try new crops.

In the future, research and extension personnel plan to explore new processing and packaging options that will add value to all these aquacultural crops.

203 Swingle Hall | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4786 |
Website Feedback | Privacy | Copyright ©