FY 2010 expenditures: $251,046
FY 2011 budget: $492,270
The farming of aquatic animals and plants, one of the fastest growing segments of US and global agricultural economies, is an ecological imperative as natural fisheries are over-exploited. In order
to meet our increasing demand for seafood and ease harvest pressure on natural fish stocks, aquaculture production must increase 100% over the next 25-30 years. Florida is the third largest aquaculture-producing state, yielding the greatest variety of aquatic organisms in the US, such as ornamental fish and plants, clams, shrimp, fish, and alligators.
As enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida, funds from the Florida Aquaculture Specialty License Plate can be used to:
Conduct scientific research on environmentally responsible and sustainable methods of farming freshwater and saltwater organisms such as fish, shellfish, and crustaceans for food; biomedical species for pharmaceutical and nutriceutical compounds; and marine ornamentals for the aquarium trade.
Expand the institution's educational programs that include secondary school field experiences, college degree programs, and intensive courses in order to further the objective of increasing aquaculture's contribution to the state's economy.
Aquaculture license plate revenue supports the Harbor Branch-FAU Aquaculture and Stock Enhancement Program in four primary areas: fish aquaculture, molluscan aquaculture, aquatic animal health, and education. Much of the work is directed toward improving the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of aquaculture. A portion of FY2011 funds also is supporting a postdoctoral investigator.
Research and Education
Project goals include advancing the efficiency of fish aquaculture systems, optimizing culture of the Florida apple snail to restore populations to enhance survival of the endangered Florida snail kite, examining alternate clam species to diversify the product base of Florida shellfish farmers, and characterizing elevated levels of copper and zinc in queen conch in the Florida Keys. Aquaculture license plate funds also support the Program’s Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory, which investigates health and disease issues of aquaculture species, including how ecological changes impact health, reproduction, and recruitment. In 2010, Harbor Branch-FAU hosted a National Aquaculture Association workshop on safety and sustainability in the aquaculture industry. HBOI-FAU researchers include Amber Garr and Dr. Susan Laramore, Dr. John Scarpa, and Dr. Paul Wills.
Oil Spill Fallout
Dr. Holly Nance is a postdoctoral investigator on a two-year appointment (August 2010 – August 2012) who is studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on genetic diversity and connectivity of Gulf Coast species with mentors Dr. Susan Laramore (HBOI-FAU), Dr. John Scarpa (HBOI-FAU), and Dr. Ed Proffitt (FAU).