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Friday, March 1, 2024


June 27, 2002 – Aquaculture enthusiasts from around the world have gathered at the University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix campus this week for a course in aquaculture and aquaponics, offered by the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES).
The seven-day "Aquaponics and Tilapia Aquaculture Short Course" has attracted participants from as far as South Africa, Lebanon, Hungary, Mexico and Canada, as well as from eight U.S. states. A few Virgin Islanders and several Puerto Ricans are also attending the course.
Aquaponics is the growing of fish and vegetables in recirculating systems in which nutrients from fish waste provide food for the plants, and the plants in turn filter the water for the fish.
The 24 students, seven of whom hold doctoral degrees, will learn how to raise tilapia, a warm-water food fish native to Africa and the Middle East. They also will be taught how to design, build and operate systems for raising fish and plants; to develop business plans; and to market their products. The course will provide in-depth knowledge of the principles and practical application of the aquaponic and greenwater tank culture systems that have been developed at UVI.
A typical day includes four hours of lecture and four hours of hands-on fieldwork.
"It teaches them practical information that they can use to start a business," said AES Director and course coordinator Dr. James Rakocy. "UVI is the world leader in aquaponics research. Everything we do here, we teach them."
For many of the participants, it is a chance to implement aquaponic systems at their schools and universities. For some it presents an opportunity to open commercial fish farms. And for others it will become a hobby.
This is the fourth year that AES has offered the aquaponics and tilapia aquaculture course, but Rakocy said it is the largest and most diverse group to date. For more information on aquaponics and aquaculture, call Rakocy at 692-4031.
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