Ohio State University

Aquaculture Water Quality Workshop Offers Tips to Boost Profitability of Fish Farming


Source: Ohio State University

PIKETON, Ohio -- Healthy water leads to healthy fish and increases the potential for healthy profits for fish farmers.

On the other hand, poor water quality can lead to stressed fish, increasing the chance for the animals’ illness and death, and resulting in income losses for farmers, says Matthew Smith, an Ohio State University Extension aquaculture specialist.

Water quality management for fish farmers is the subject of an Aug. 6 workshop Smith is holding at the Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development at The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon. The workshop will focus on the importance of understanding water quality, water chemistry, and identifying water and weed problems applicable to fish farmers in Ohio, Smith said.

“Water chemistry is an important aspect regarding culturing any aquatic animal, with poor water quality being one of the most prevalent reasons fish farmers lose fish,” he said. “We want to prevent that from happening.”

“We’ll talk about considerations fish farmers need to address to manage water quality and why it’s important in keeping fish less stressed and happy so that they grow faster, healthier, bigger and allow fish famers to get to market with a high-quality, nutritious food product and increase their farm’s profitability.”  

Aquaculture includes the breeding, rearing and harvesting of plants and animals in ponds, rivers, lakes and the ocean for food, sport, bait, ornamental fish, sea vegetables, fish eggs and algae. The industry is growing globally thanks to increasing demand from consumers looking for healthier food options, experts say.

In Ohio, there are about 200 fish farmers registered statewide, according to a 2010 survey by Ohio State. And many of them say they’d like to gain additional training in innovative production techniques, according to the survey.

“Aquaculture is growing in interest in Ohio,” Smith said, noting that the workshop is also designed to “provide education to increase the number of fish farmers across the state and help increase aquaculture profitability.”

The workshop, which will be held at the OSU South Centers in the large auditorium, 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon, will feature aquaculture experts from OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the South Centers and industry.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The South Centers also are part of the college.

In addition to Smith, speakers will include:

  • Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension horticulture specialist
  • Chris Smalley, Ohio State business development specialist
  • Rafiq Islam, Ohio State soil, water and bioenergy program director
  • D. Allen Pattillo, an Iowa State University Extension aquaculture specialist

Some of the topics to be discussed will include:

  • Understanding and interpreting water quality parameters necessary for fish production
  • Understanding your water quality analysis report from the South Centers.
  • How does poor water quality affect your wallet?
  • Hands-on testing of key water quality parameters
  • Fish water quality management in recirculating aquaculture systems/aquaponics
  • Plant water quality management in aquaponics
  • Hands-on aquatic weed identification and treatment options

Registration is $45 per person and includes all materials, tours of the aquaculture research facility and aquaponic greenhouse, and lunch. To register, contact Sarah Strausbaugh at 740-289-2071, ext.112, orstrausbaugh.54@osu.edu. The deadline to register is noon, July 29.

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