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HomeNewsArchivesTIME MAY HAVE COME FOR AQUACULTURE IN V.I.

TIME MAY HAVE COME FOR AQUACULTURE IN V.I.

I was particularly pleased to read about approval for a study of aquaculture in the islands because I had just finished touring Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce, Florida, for a story on the subject. Dr. Kevan Main, deputy director of the aquaculture division, took me through the complex, explaining the growing interest in the science of fish and farming. A relatively recent development is the ability to raise shrimp in recirculating fresh water.
Many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon, producing equipment needed for taking fish, shrimp and clams from seed to market. I saw tilapia in tanks that would easily fit on a gallery or patio and much larger indoor pools for commercial production. Harbor Branch has a thick catalogue put out by the institution's business partners.
While the government is studying the possibilities, they need look no farther than St.Croix, where Dr. James Rakocy, at UVI, has been working on an aquaponics system that uses water from the tilapia to grow lettuce.
Dr. Main was very enthusiastic about his work and had high praise for him. She told me that he has already produced several how-to publications on the subject.
Harbor Branch offers opportunities for individuals and businesses to rent space in the complex and take advantage of on-site expertise, and there are intensive courses for those interested in learning the business. I'm trying to resist the urge to buy one of those tilapia tanks for my own yard.
For those who don't remember, this is a subject that was being talked about many years ago in the Virgin Islands. Several guests from UVI (then CVI) were on Conversation (my radio show on WVWI) to discuss aquaculture. Maybe its time has finally come.
Willi Miller
Read Miller's article on shrimp farming in Florida in the Source's St. Croix Business section.

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