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Aquaculture workshop covers basics and then some

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For those interested in dipping their toes into aquaculture, Kentucky Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop, Aquaculture Basics, on Saturday, March 10, at the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center in Frankfort.
Welcome and sign-in will begin at 8:15 a.m. EST, and presentations will start at 8:30 and continue until noon.
“I encourage the general public, farmers, pond owners and land owners to attend if they have any interest in starting an aquaculture enterprise. This will be a good, basic overview for those who are not likely to be familiar with aquaculture,” said William Wurts, senior state specialist for aquaculture with Kentucky State University. “However, the workshop will be open to anyone who is interested in brushing up their skills.”
Speakers will include Wurts; Forrest Wynne, state specialist for aquaculture in Graves County; Bob Durborow, KSU professor and state specialist for aquaculture, and Charlie Shultz, a KSU graduate student in aquaculture. He is originally from St. Croix, where he researched aquaponics for 13 years at the University of the Virgin Islands. Aquaponics involve the production of edible plants in combination with fish or other aquatic animals.
Wurts will speak about fundamental stocking and feeding practices for the types of aquaculture that can be practiced in Kentucky, as well as the basic aspects of water quality that are critical for pond management. Wynne will give a basic overview of the various aquaculture production systems, including pond site selection and construction with brief looks at watershed and levee style ponds. Durborow will discuss the species that are suitable for Kentucky aquaculture.
“I often steer people in the direction of catfish, largemouth bass or tilapia culture,” Durborow said. “The first two are raised in open ponds while tilapia are raised in cages.”
Shultz will present an introduction to food production using aquaponic systems and guidelines for producers.
Kentucky Cooperative Extension will also offer an aquatic plant and algae-control training program from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. EST Friday, March 9, at the same location. Discussion topics will include aquatic plant and algae identification, methods of control and herbicide and algaecide use. The program will emphasize proper chemical selection and application techniques, applicator safety and recordkeeping.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved this aquatic weed-control program for three specific hours for category 5 credit and two general hours for categories 10 and 12.
Both workshops are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required, but to be assured of receiving workshop printed materials, those wishing to attend should contact either Wurts at (270) 365-7541, ext. 200 or wwurts@uky.edu or Wynne at (270) 247-2334 or fwynne@email.uky.edu.