Guy Harvey Magazine

SPR 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 32 of 83 | 33 GHM: First off, what's the difference between mariculture and aquaculture? AS: For our discussion, aquaculture is the culture or production of seafood in fresh or saltwater while mariculture is the culture or production of seafood in seawater. GHM: With seafood getting more and more popular, is the future of seafood consumption going more toward farmed fish? AS: With a rapidly growing world population, seafood farming will be the only way to meet the increased demand for seafood. In 2014, farm-produced seafood exceeded wild-caught product. It is suggested that by 2030, aquaculture will account for two-thirds of all seafood. GHM: And how much of the seafood that Americans eat is imported? AS: Ninety-one percent of the U.S. seafood is imported and most of these products are imported from Asia. GHM: Why do you think we're lagging so far behind Asia in fish farming? AS: In my opinion, the best managed seafood production systems have been developed in the U.S. We lag behind Asia because they have lower labor costs, they are less regulated and, depending on the species, they may have a longer production period. The bottom line is that it is cheaper to produce seafood in Asia compared to the U.S. GHM: How did the mariculture center get started? AS: The coast of South Carolina has nearly 100,000 acres of saltwater impoundments and old rice fields. Owners routinely flooded these ponds and recruited wild populations of fish and shrimp to be harvested and sold to local markets. These units are generally quite large and difficult to manage and provide no control of the types of seafood that are recruited when the inlet gates were opened. It works, but is not efficient. In 1979, there was some strong interest in the state to invest in and to build a research center that could develop methods to produce a single seafood species—like fish or shrimp—in high-ground-built ponds designed specifically for seafood production. It was thought that the research information and production technology developed at the mariculture center might offer coastal farmers an opportunity to produce a more profitable crop. The center officially opened in 1984. GHM: What are the primary species you're working with? AS: The Waddell Mariculture Center is a research and development platform for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The center's researchers identify and develop seafood production technology and also restock recreationally important marine finfish populations. This year, we will produce cobia, red drum and spotted sea trout for our stocking program and will track these populations using their DNA. We will also produce some marine shrimp in one of our research production units to demonstrate shrimp production techniques for people who want to see a shrimp production unit and learn more about it. GHM: We've written articles about the cobia they're raising in Panama. Is that something we could duplicate here in U.S. waters? AS: The primary reason growers in Panama are successful is that they have year- round growout temperatures. Our temperate climate would not be optimal for outdoor cobia culture. There are other secondary concerns, but water temperature is our primary reason. GHM: What's the greatest challenge in the future of hatcheries? AS: I believe it is the lack of funding support to upgrade hatchery and production facilities so that they can be more efficient and address recreational fishery production needs. Overfishing is real, and stocking and monitoring hatchery- reared fish is important to help answer important fishery management questions. In addition, recreational fishing is important to the economy of any state. I would strongly suggest that those in the private sector who benefit from spending by millions of fishermen take an interest in the success of their local fish hatcheries. Interview with Al Stokes Manager, Waddell Mariculture Center Above: A researcher demonstrates good technique while releasing a red drum. Keeping the fish's body in the water helps reduce stress during the catch and release process. | 33

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