Scientists work to advance aquaculture in Oklahoma
Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry in the United States. However, Oklahoma’s industry is at a competitive disadvantage relative to those in bordering states like Arkansas due to the reduced availability of water. Modern technologies to improve water quality and conserve water usage are largely unused. Additionally, many products that have been successful in other regions — freshwater prawn and crawfish, for example – or are uniquely suited to production in Oklahoma – crawfish, turtles and frogs – have received little attention from the research community. The turtle industry is rapidly declining, the frog and crawfish industry have been ignored and the prawn industry is absent despite suitability and lack of competition in the region. Focusing attention on this group of aquaculture species will provide new opportunities and information vital to the health of the Oklahoma aquaculture industry. Investigation of water quality, nutrition and stress responses across multiple aquaculture species will provide information that can be widely applied to production in Oklahoma, the region and beyond.
Scientists with the Langston University Agricultural Research Station are studying aquaculture practices to establish sustainable production options with a simultaneous increase in profitability, efficiency or both. Their work has identified more sustainable options for producing aquaculture organisms. They have compared the performance of various aquaculture species on alternative foodstuffs with prawns, tadpoles and turtles. They are identifying responses of aquaculture species to stressors in an aquaculture system. They have collected data for production of the draft genome for the freshwater prawn and are examining genomic responses to different levels of nutritional stress.
Sustainable practices are central to the profitability of any organization, and aquaculture production is no exception. By identifying more sustainable options, producers can adopt these and enhance the marketability of their products, capitalize on niche markets and foster improved profitability.