This year we’re starting a new series highlighting the many faces of aquaculture in eastern North Carolina. From research facilities to new species under domestication to large facilities to feed the masses, there’s a lot going on in the state’s low-lying coast. Periodically, we’ll visit one and bring you pictures and stories from the operation. Stay tuned for more.
Tucked on the banks of Sleepy Creek between the two small towns of Marshallberg and Smyrna, NC, a world of new aquaculture ideas grows – NC State’s Marine Aquaculture Research Center. A single building with large tanks behind emerged from the landscape as we drove down the dirt farm road that connects the property to the main road. Originally planned as a three-building complex, recent budget cuts felt throughout the state have made the operation smaller – but no less important. The facility houses projects for anyone with an idea for how to forward aquaculture in the 21st century – be they local researchers, students, or people already in the industry. The two major projects happening during our visit are a comparison of hybrid and striped bass feeding efficiencies at a variety of temperatures and continuing development of a waste-management strategy for tank effluent water. There was also a red porgy mating effort and mud minnow spawning setup.