Aquaponics Workshop Set for October 18 in Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. —The Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System will host an introduction to aquaponics workshop Saturday, Oct. 18, from 9 a.m. to noon at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Research Center on North College St. in Auburn. No prior skills or training are required for participants, who will receive detailed instruction on the basics of aquaponics, a tour of the school’s fish and plant greenhouses and guidance on designing and constructing aquaponics systems.

A combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponics combines the practice of raising aquatic animals in tanks with the cultivation of plants in water. An aquaponics system utilizes the animals’ waste to nourish the plants, while the plants, in turn, help clean the water.

Mollie Smith, outreach programs coordinator for the school, will serve as one of two instructors for the course. Smith describes the workshop as a response to the community’s overwhelming interest in aquaponics.

“We wanted to share our expertise with the public and provide them with the tools and information to be successful using aquaponics,” Smith said. “Backyard gardeners and individuals interested in sustainability, local food production and small-scale aquaponic production are the people we are hoping to reach with the course.”

Cost of the workshop is $60 per person, and pre-registration ends Thursday, Oct. 16. To register, visit For more information, contact Smith at or 334-844-9301.

2014 Annual Shrimp Sale Fundraiser

Auburn University Chapter 
American Fisheries Society
2014 Annual Shrimp Sale Fundraiser

Fresh Auburn University Farm Raised
25 to 30-count Pacific White shrimp
Heads on, Not frozen
Available Only in 5-lb lots at $6.00/lb
OR at $5.50/lb for orders of 100 lbs or more

Pre-Order/Pre-Pay Only
To place an order, email or call 844-4667
Monday – Friday (8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)
Payment: Cash or check only…No credit cards accepted
All orders and money must be received by 3:30 Sept 26th.
No orders will be accepted after this time, any unpaid orders will be deleted.

Pick up At the Market Bldg adjacent E.W. Shell Fisheries Research Center (2101 N College)
Sept 30.  (3-7pm)
Oct 1 (3-7pm)

***Harvest and Pick up dates subject to change due to weather***

Search extended for Director, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences



AU tower logo v10Auburn University is seeking a Director for the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences in the College of Agriculture to provide vision and leadership that enhances the College’s tradition of excellence in teaching, research, extension/outreach, and service. The successful candidate will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer for the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences and will report directly to the Dean of the College of Agriculture.  

The newly designated School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences began as a department in 1933 and is noted as one of the best programs of its kind in the world.  The School conducts outstanding teaching, research, extension/outreach and international programs in freshwater and marine aquaculture, fisheries management and aquatic resources. The School consists of 23 tenure/tenure-track faculty, five research fellows and over 100 other employees.  There are approximately 160 students, of which 100 are graduate students pursuing a Master of Science, Master of Aquaculture or Doctor of Philosophy in Fisheries. 

The College of Agriculture consists of the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology; Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences; Animal Sciences; Biosystems Engineering; Entomology and Plant Pathology; Horticulture; Poultry Science; and the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences.  The College of Agriculture has 138 tenured and tenure-track faculty members, 270 graduate students, and over 1,000 undergraduate students.

Auburn University ( is a comprehensive land grant, sea grant, and space grant institution with a dynamic 150 year history.  The University’s main campus has a 2013-2014 enrollment of 24,864 students and offers degrees in 12 schools and colleges at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.  Auburn University is not only known for its great education programs, but is also notable for its $4 billion+ impact on Alabama’s economy.  Auburn University is located in the family friendly town of Auburn, Alabama, with a population of 50,000, a renowned school system and nationally recognized medical center.  Auburn is located approximately 50 miles from Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, and 110 miles from Atlanta, Georgia.  This location provides a moderate climate with easy access to both beach and mountain recreational facilities. 

The responsibilities of this position are to provide visionary leadership, and overall management of the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. The Director will be responsible for all budget development and management, securing funding, recruitment and supervision of personnel, professional development of faculty and staff, and coordination of the assessment and development of academic programs within the School.  The Director will be assisted in these tasks by two Associate Directors.  Together, they will provide oversight of the numerous state-wide departmental facilities which include extensive research, teaching and outreach/extension facilities at North Auburn, South Auburn, Greensboro, Mobile, Dauphin Island and Fairhope.

In addition to leading the transition and expansion from an outstanding department to a world-renown School, the Director must develop strong working relationships with other departments, commodity groups, agribusiness representatives, various government and private/non-government agencies, and students and alumni.  The successful candidate will report to the Dean of Agriculture and maintain close relationships with the Directors of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, USDA-ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the International Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Alabama Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium (Dauphin Island Sea Lab) and the Aquaculture and Fisheries Business Institute. 

The position requires an earned doctorate or equivalent and a distinguished scholarship record sufficient to merit appointment with tenure at the rank of Professor.   The successful candidate should have an outstanding record of academic achievement in one or more of the following areas: research, teaching and/or extension/outreach; a strong commitment to shared governance; interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program development; and a demonstrable record of successful administrative skills, experience, and cooperation to achieve university level goals. Effective communication skills with multiple constituencies in a diverse community; management skills for complex organizations including facilities development; strong interpersonal skills; and wide-ranging participation in service activities and professional societies are required. Capacity for visionary leadership and successful experience in the process of securing funds from the university and external sources for programs related to teaching, research, extension, community outreach and service are desired. The candidate must be knowledgeable of, and committed to, the unique mission of a land-grant institution and have substantial accomplishments in at least two of the three land grant mission areas.

Candidates should submit a letter of application, curriculum vita, five references, and leadership philosophy to the address below.  While applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled, interested parties are highly encouraged to submit their materials by November 1, 2014 to assure optimal consideration. For details please see:

Search Committee-Director, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences
Attention: Managing Director
Breckenridge Partners
1025 West Everett Road, Suite #4
Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 
~Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer~ 

The candidate selected for this position must be able to meet eligibility requirements to work in the United States at the time appointment is scheduled to begin and continue working legally for the proposed term of employment.



Auburn Fisheries Will Host Expo, Field Day Sept. 20

Aubie holding a fishing netThe Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences will host an expo and field day Saturday, Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Research Center on North College Street in Auburn.

Free and open to the public, the event will feature tours of facilities and ponds at the north Auburn center and will also have food vendors with samples, extended fish market hours, child-friendly fun, live music and presentations by faculty.

Fisheries Expo Field Day pdf“The goal of the event is to bring more awareness to our research and our resources,” said Eric Peatman, an associate professor in the school and organizer of the event. “Our program is one of the best in the world, and we want to take advantage of a football-free Saturday to share what we do with the community and the Auburn family.”

map to EW Shell Fisheries Station

The Auburn Tigers will play Kansas State in Kansas the Thursday night preceding the expo and field day.

The Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences has its roots in the inland fisheries and aquaculture research of Homer S. Swingle. The first formal courses in the disciplines were offered at Auburn in 1946.

For more information on the expo and field day, contact Peatman at 334-734-4611 or




2013 Catfish Report Reveals Challenges, Bright Spots for US Farmers

Terry Hanson (left), Auburn University, and Butch Wilson, Alabama catfish farmer.

Terry Hanson (left), Auburn University, and Butch Wilson, Alabama catfish farmer.

The recently released 2013 U.S. Catfish Database compiled by Auburn University aquacultural economist Terry Hanson paints a grim portrait of the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry overall, but a few bright spots, particularly for Alabama producers, are sprinkled throughout the report.

Since peaking in 2003, the U.S. catfish industry has been shrinking. American consumer preference for the fish declined from sixth among the top 10 fish and seafood products in 2009 to ninth in 2012. The acreage devoted to catfish farming in the U.S. continued its steady decline in 2013 and is now down 62 percent, or 121,135 acres, from its peak in 2002. Meanwhile, imports of frozen catfish fillets increased by 44 million pounds in 2013, to 281 million pounds, accounting for 78 percent of all sales of frozen catfish fillets in the U.S. Imports in 2013 were nearly 10 times what they were just eight years ago, while the number of pounds of U.S. catfish processed is down nearly 50 percent from that same year.

“Though the majority of the news for the U.S. catfish industry is bleak, 2013 did bring slight increases in both pounds processed, up 11 percent from 2012, and total producer income, also up 11 percent over the previous year,” said Hanson. “We are encouraged by these signs that the industry may be stabilizing.”

And, the news for Alabama’s catfish farmers is slightly better than for those in other states. Though the acreage devoted to catfish farming in the state has decreased steadily since 2004, Alabama has seen the lowest rate of decrease of the top catfish-producing states. In addition, while feed purchases have dropped dramatically in other states, signaling a sharper decline in the industry, Alabama’s feed purchases have remained relatively stable.

Butch Wilson, an Alabama catfish farmer and past president of the Catfish Farmers of America, says the trends in the industry are forcing farmers to innovate and diversify in order to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

“I’ve lived every one of these trends on my farm,” said Wilson, who in recent years has diversified operations and updated technologies on his Dallas County farm. He now raises tilapia in addition to catfish and has moved portions of his operation indoors to keep up with the industry’s latest technological advances.

Looking to the future, Hanson says some trends will likely continue, while others may see a sharp change. While the market share of imported fish and seafood will continue to rise, overall consumption of seafood products will keep to its downward trend unless efforts are made to educate Americans about the nutritional benefit of eating more fish. The increase in feed prices over the past few years has led to a lower in-pond catfish inventory in the U.S., which will result in a supply shortage in 2014. As of February, processors were paying much higher prices per pound for U.S.-raised catfish than just a year earlier, a positive trend Hanson hopes will continue at the production, processing and retail levels.

“If producers are able to invest these profits to improve infrastructure, adopt new technologies and reduce production costs, then U.S. farm-raised catfish will compete favorably with inexpensive imported products,” Hanson said.

Hanson, associate professor and Extension specialist in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, has provided the annual catfish database for the last 15 years.  Much of the information in the report is a historical compilation of data provided by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture. Dave Sites of Mississippi State University is co-author of the 2013 report, which can be downloaded at

For more information, contact Hanson at (334) 844-9207 or

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