U.S. aquaculture farmers will benefit from funding, research and outreach which focuses on the following topics.
Strengthen the Land Grant cooperative extension services.
Farms require aquaculture extension specialists who possess in-depth familiarity with individual farms and have nurtured close working relationships with the farming community. Aquaculture extension specialists:
- Provide R & D assistance, runs research yield verification trials on farms to verify that research results will hold up under commercial conditions.
- Are actively engaged with the aquaculture research community to ensure that the researchers focus their proposals and research programs on real, applied problems.
- Assist farmers to understand regulations and anticipate regulatory changes.
USDA’s role in strengthening extension services to aquaculture would be to hold frank discussions with land-grant universities related to increasing base extension support for aquaculture producers, especially in major aquaculture-producing states, with priority given to extension programming, not grant writing.
Aquatic animal selection and domestication
Achieve the complex goals of improved growth, health and yield within different production systems using agricultural biotechnology (traditional selection, hybridization, or genetic modification) that may include sterility to reduce environmental risk or achieve desirable growth and yield characteristics.
- Candidate species evaluation
- Production system domestication optimizing growth, health, and yield through
- Genetic modification
Aquatic animal selection and domestication to achieve the complex goals of improved growth, health (including disease resistance) and yield within different production systems using agricultural biotechnology (traditional selection, hybridization, or genetic modification) that may include sterility to reduce environmental risk or achieve desirable growth and yield characteristics.
Aquatic Animal Health Management
Encompasses animal physiology, farm management, diagnostic and treatment options, health professional education and training, life stage nutrition and feed quality, optimizing plant derived nutrition, epidemiology, and risk management (farm and livestock insurance).
- Health management:
- Farm management
- Veterinarian and fish health professional – education and training
- Therapeutant development and testing – vaccines and medicines
- Anti-microbial risk assessment
- Risk management:
- Pathogen horizon scanning
- Zoonotic pathogens
- Animal Nutrition:
- Live feeds – larval nutrient delivery system
- Nutrient retention
- Production system specific feeds
- Life stage specific feeds
- Plant-based feed optimization
Environmental management, on-farm and off-farm, integrate production system design, construction, management and maintenance to provide optimum growing conditions, animal pathogen and pest protection, confinement, water conservation, eco-friendly materials and coatings, feed production, and minimal off-farm effects.
- Production system design, management and maintenance:
- Effluent reduction and treatment
- Water quality
- Water conservation
- Alternative materials and coatings – biodegradable, anti-biofouling, eco-friendly production gear, containers and packaging.
- Crop pest management:
- Predator and pest control (vertebrates and invertebrates)
- Parasite control
- Nuisance plant and invasive species control
- Feed production:
- Low environmental footprint US grains
- Water quality measurements and tracking to aquaculture farm
Hatchery, production, species and transportation system economic feasibility evaluations, energy source selection and workforce development focused on production efficiency and intensification through robotics and instrumentation while keeping innovation real and grounded through economic analysis.
- Production intensification
- Environmental parameter and biomass monitoring, crop inventory
- Farm security surveillance
- HAB detection/quantification
- Business planning
- Production system evaluation
- New species evaluation
- Alternative energy source evaluation
- Egg to farmgate workforce development
Product and consumer marketing to inform: 1) new farm planning or existing operation expansion, 2) candidate species evaluation to appreciate pricing, product forms and demand and 3) enhance consumer valuation and product value through consumer education, value-added processing or attribute labeling.
- Consumer Education
- Market Evaluation and Reporting
- Product Development and Promotion
- Enhancing Product Value:
- Aquaculture Organic Rule
- Processing efficiencies and value-added processing