PIKETON, Ohio — At a time when some aquaculture research programs across the nation are struggling, the aquaculture program at Ohio State University’s South Centers at Piketon is still going strong.
The Ohio Aquaculture Research and Development Integration Program will receive about $580,000 in federal funding for fiscal year 2009 to continue supporting Ohio’s $6 million aquaculture industry through research and Extension outreach.
The funds, which will come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service, were secured by Sens. Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich and Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Zack Space.
The funds will be used to support OARDIP’s five established research program areas: Ohio Genetic Improvement of Farmed-Fish Traits (O’GIFT), Bowling Green Aquaculture Program, Fish Production Improvement Program, Fish Muscle Growth and Nutrition Program and the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Lab.
In addition, the funds support the program’s Extension outreach and education arm, known as Aquaculture Technology Transfer and Dissemination.
Han-Ping Wang, a principal scientist with the OSU South Centers, said the Ohio Aquaculture Research and Development Program focuses on Ohio’s top three aquacultural and recreational fish: yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass and important baitfish species.
Research projects include:
– Genetically improving yellow perch so they can reach market size over a shorter period of time compared to the traditional farm-raised yellow perch.
– Developing all male bluegill populations to capitalize on their fast growth rate compared to females.
– Genetically improving largemouth bass to increase their growth rate.
– Manipulating spawning cycles of the spotfin shiner to produce multiple batches of fry for indoor culture systems.
In addition to the aforementioned projects, OSU South Centers researchers are also collaborating with colleagues in the Department of Animal Sciences, School of Environment and Natural Resources and Food Science and Technology to analyze fish muscle quality, nutrition and taste.
Ohio sales increased
According to the USDA, aquaculture sales in Ohio have increased 73 percent since 1998 and the state ranks in the top 10 for yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass production.
Ohio ranks number one in sales of yellow perch for food and is number one for bluegill production.
Ohio ranks fourth in baitfish sales and fourth in largemouth bass production sold for sport.
The state also ranks sixth in sales of hybrid striped bass sold as a food fish.
For more information about the Ohio Aquaculture Research and Development Integration Program log on to http://southcenters.osu.edu and click on “Aquaculture.”