Aquaculture Workshop Coming to Corpus Christi

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The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research will host the “Overcoming Barriers to Expanding Aquaculture in Texas” workshop on Jan. 22-14 in Corpus Christi.

A person is holding a fish for inspection. A Jan 22-24 workshop held in Corpus Christi will discuss the latest trends in the aquaculture industry.
People will be able to learn about the latest issues and topics affecting the aquaculture industry and the latest trends in aquaculture research during the Jan 22-24 workshop in Corpus Christi. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie)

The workshop will be held at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi University Center, 6300 Ocean Drive.

Co-hosts of the event are the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Aquaculture Program,  National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Aquaculture Program, Texas Sea Grant and the Texas Aquaculture Association.

The workshop will be held from 8 a.m-9 p.m. on Jan. 22, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Jan. 23 and from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 24. Cost is $45 for general registration and $25 for students and children under 18. To register, visit

The registration fee includes attendance, two lunches, snacks and a dinner at 7 p.m. on Jan. 22. The dinner will be catered by the Water Street Oyster Bar and held at Elizabeth’s at the Art Museum, located at 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd.

There will also be tours of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Aquaculture Facility at Corpus Christi, the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife Marine Development Center on Jan. 23 and a commercial fish and shellfish farm tour on Jan. 24.

Planning a sustainable future for Texas aquaculture

The program will feature over 20 educational sessions presented by top aquaculture and seafood industry experts. The meeting’s main goal is for all stakeholders to exchange ideas to develop a roadmap for the future of sustainable expansion of aquaculture in Texas.

Attendees will be able to learn engaging and practical information from experts on the most important issues relevant to the development of Texas aquaculture.

Program agenda

This year’s program will include the following topics and speakers:

Jan. 22 – Session 1:
  • State of Texas aquaculture – Fritz Jaenike, aquaculture management consultant, Texas Aquaculture Association, Cedar Park.
  • Status of U.S. aquaculture – Sebastian Belle, executive director, Maine Aquaculture Association, Gardiner, Maine.
  • Opportunities for offshore aquaculture – Ken Riley, Ph.D., science advisor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Aquaculture, Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Opportunities for shellfish aquaculture – Chris Hollenbeck, Ph.D., AgriLife Research lead scientist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Mariculture Laboratory at Flour Bluff, Flour Bluff.
  • Aquaponics – Joe Masabni, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension vegetable specialist and professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences, Dallas.
  • Species of interest – Todd Sink, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension aquaculture specialist and associate professor in the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Bryan-College Station.
  • Offshore aquaculture – Kent Satterlee, executive director, Gulf Offshore Research Institute and CEO, Blue Silo Aquaculture.
  • Development of aquaculture markets – Lindy Zaleski, business development manager seafood procurement, H-E-B, San Antonio.
  • Aquaculture research and technology transfer – Caird Rexroad, Ph.D., national program leader for aquaculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD.
Jan 22 – Session 2:
  • Responsible growth/engaging nongovernmental organizations/social license – Belle.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements for U.S. aquaculture – Carole Engle, Ph.D., consultant, Engle-Stone Aquatics LLC, Strasburg, Virginia.
  • Aquaculture economics and marketing priorities – Shraddha Hegde, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Bryan-College Station.
  • Investing in aquaculture – Max Holtzman, principal, Ocean 14 Capital, Washington, D.C.
  • Labor and workforce development – Christian Brayden, project manager, Maine Aquaculture Association, Portland, Maine.
Jan. 23 – Session 2 continued:
  • Barriers to expansion in catfish, redfish, hybrid striped bass: Research and technology needs – Producer Panel –Sink, Mark Kubecka, business manager, Striped Bass Farm, Palacios; Jim Ekstrom, Ekstrom Enterprises, Houston;  Shane Nicaud, chief operating officer, Gulf States Aquaculture, Palacios; Chase Holub, owner, Holub Fish LLC, Blessing; and Darrell Bowers, owner, 5B Farms, Inez.
  • Generating state and federal level support – Paul Zajicek, executive director, National Aquaculture Association, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Water rights/land availability, cost and long-term sustainability – Jim Ekstrom, owner, Ekstrom Enterprises, Danevang.
  • Aquaculture Extension panel – moderated by Sink: Jimmy Avery, Ph.D., Mississippi State University Extension professor and director, U.S. Department of Agriculture Southern Regional Aquaculture Center, Starkville, Mississippi; Mario Marquez, fellow, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Environmental Cooperative Science Center, Palacios; Michael Schwarz, Ph.D., director, Virginia Seafood Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Hampton, Virginia; and Dennis McIntosh, professor and Extension specialist in aquaculture, Department of Agricultural and Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware.
  • Breakout sessions led by steering committee members.
  • Tours of the Texas A&M AgriLife and Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife facilities.
January 24
  • Tours of commercial fish and shellfish farms.


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