Today, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson announced the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is now accepting applications from Florida educators to participate in a collaborative aquaculture education training workshop July 26-28, 2023, to help Florida teachers bring aquaculture and aquaponics into their classrooms.
Aquaculture is the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all types of water environments.
As the demand for seafood has increased, technology has made it possible to grow food in coastal marine waters and the open ocean. Aquaculture is a method used to produce food and other commercial products, restore habitat and replenish wild stocks, and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species.
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In the United States, marine aquaculture produces numerous species including oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, seaweeds, and fish such as salmon, black sea bass, sablefish, yellowtail, and pompano. There are many ways to farm marine shellfish, including “seeding” small shellfish on the seafloor or by growing them in bottom or floating cages. Marine fish farming is typically done in net pens in the water or in tanks on land.
U.S. freshwater aquaculture produces species such as catfish and trout. Freshwater aquaculture primarily takes place in ponds or other manmade systems.
“Florida’s aquaculture industry is dynamic and ever-growing, but basic awareness of aquaculture is still a critical need in K-12 classrooms,” said Commissioner Simpson. “By equipping our world-class teachers with aquaculture knowledge and know-how, we can not only offer an engaging hands-on learning opportunity, but we can help meet an increasing demand for skilled aquaculture professionals in Florida.”
FDACS’ Division of Aquaculture, in partnership with the University of Florida, Tropical Aquaculture Lab (UF/IFAS TAL), Florida Sea Grant, and the Florida Aquaculture Association, is hosting this intensive 3-day, hands-on aquaculture education workshop. Hosted at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab in Ruskin, Florida, the training will provide Florida educators with all the knowledge and know-how to teach students about aquaculture and start their aquaculture systems.
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FDACS and UF/IFAS TAL will also competitively award up to six full recirculating aquaculture systems, as well as several supplementary aquaponic system supplies to schools throughout the state of Florida.
The workshop is open to all K-12 science and agriculture educators in Florida. Interested teachers can learn more or complete an application for the workshop and awards by visiting the Division’s Education Page at FDACS.gov/Education/Aquaculture-Educator-Resources.
The deadline to submit applications is June 16, 2023, at 5 p.m. EST.
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